It is absolutely against the law to have any financial benefit from organ donation. If you are paid, or request to be paid, for any transplant you will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
There is a potential for complications for this type of surgery. Anyone interested in being an organ donor should contact his or her physician prior to matching.
Why Should I Consider Becoming a Living Donor?
Although deceased organ donation is extremely important and life saving, you don't have to wait until you die to be a heroic organ donor. There are greater than 80,000 people in the U.S. waiting on a list for an organ transplant. Seventeen people a day die while waiting. Although there are risks with undergoing any surgery, most live donors do very well and have no physical ill effects or alterations in their own health.
A live donation is the ultimate gift. There is an overwhelming satisfaction of giving life to another human being who would otherwise have a very poor quality of life or even die while waiting for a transplant. “A positive aspect of living donation can be the psychological benefit because the donor experiences the satisfaction of knowing that he or she has contributed to the improved health of the recipient.”--UNOS.org 2004
“O” -- Blood type “O” is a universal donor meaning you can potentially donate to anyone in need of a transplant.
“A” -- If your blood type is “A” you can only donate to another person with blood type ”A” or “AB”
“B” -- If your blood type is “B” you can only donate to blood type “B” or “AB”
“AB” -- If your blood type is “AB” than you can only donate to “AB” alone.
If the donor and recipient have compatible blood types, simple blood test to check tissue typing, cross matching and antibody screening will be taken at your local lab.
Prior to transplant surgery the live organ donor will then undergo a psychological and medical evaluation, which may include chest x-ray, EKG, potential 24-hour urine test, CT scan or arteriogram.
History of live organ donorship:
50 years ago the first successful living donor transplant was performed at Peter Bent and Brigham Hospital in Boston, Mass. This historic medical achievement was a live donor kidney transplant between two brothers. Over the last 50 years thousands of transplants from living donors have been successfully performed and many lives have been saved due to these wonderful gifts. Technology also has improved greatly since 1954 and many kidney transplants are now assisted by a small scope (video camera), which decreases the incision (about 3 inches) and helps donors return to normal activities sooner.
Organs that can be donated by a live donor:
Single Kidney: This is the most common live organ donorship. Over 6900 live kidney transplants were performed in 2003. “For the donor there is little risk in living with one kidney because the remaining kidney compensates to do the work of both kidneys.” -UNOS.org, 2004.
Liver: “Individuals can donate segments of liver, which has the ability to regenerate the segment and regain full function”-UNOS.org, 2004. The regeneration of the liver can occur within weeks after the transplant.
Lung: There are normally 5 lung lobes and a live organ donor can donate a lobe to someone in need of a lung transplant. The lung lobe does not regenerate, but the remaining lung tissue expands to fill the donated area.
Pancreas: Live donors can donate a portion of their pancreas and usually have no problems with reduced function.
Cost coverage for transplant surgery:
All the pre-operative testing, the transplant surgery and the post-operative care should be provided for by the organ recipients insurance. It is legal for the recipient to cover the live donors cost related to the operation, which may include travel expenses, lodging and lost wages. It is against the law to benefit financially from a live organ donation. Live donorship should not change a donors Life, Disability and Health insurance cost. You should contact you insurance agent to verify this.
“Positive aspects of living donation” per United National Organ Sharing (UNOS) “Living donation eliminates the transplant candidates need for placement on the National waiting list. Transplant surgery can be scheduled at a mutually agreed upon time rather than performed as an emergency operation. Because the operation can be scheduled in advance, the recipient may begin taking immunosuppressant drugs two days before the operation. This decreases the risks of organ rejection. In addition, a positive aspect of living donation can be a psychological benefit because the donor experiences the satisfaction of knowing that he or she has contributed to the improved health of the recipient” -UNOS.org, 2004
Whether you are considering living donation, have already donated or are just interested in learning, we encourage you to sign up for free on MatchingDonors and browse through our features to connect with one another, health care professionals and patients needing an organ through direct contact, message boards, email discussions and much more...