The risks of donating a kidne
The risks of donating a kidney are on a par with having a baby. About one in 3,000 donors will die (although that figure includes deaths in the early days of kidney transplants when the death rate was higher). We are not aware of ANY deaths from non-directed donors, because the standards for non-directed donations are donate a kidney much higher than for related donations. (Hospitals are often pressured to accept less than ideal donors from a kidney patient’s restricted list of willing friends or relatives.)
Most kidney disease strikes both kidneys simultaneously, so having only one kidney does not make one more likely to need a kidney, apart from traumatic injuries to the remaining kidney. Nevertheless, in America, if a kidney donor should later need a kidney themselves, priority is given to them for a transplant. Consequently, donating a kidney actually IMPROVES your protection against dying from kidney failure.
Some friends and I started learning this information about ten years ago. It wasn’t long before several of us were thinking seriously about donating a kidney to someone who needed it. There was almost a race to see who could be first. We now understand that this is not unusual, that often family members have a similar competition in order to be able to save the life of a loved one. And others who have donated to strangers have said that they felt the same keen desire to be accepted as a donor, because they felt, like us, that it would be a great experience.
So far in America, only about 400 people have donated their kidneys anonymously. That’s a little over one person in a million. Why so few? My theory is that there are not ten people in a million who know all the facts that were listed at the start of this article. If they don’t know about the need, and about how to donate, how will they ever do it? It seems that no one wants to tell them (and, sadly, that even includes the glowing reports in local newspapers, which seldom ever even suggests that others could do the same thing).