Donor Information

Living Kidney Donor Information
Donating a kidney to someone you care for is one of the greatest gifts in life. Even when it is not possible to donate, the offer alone remains a lasting gift. At Albany Medical Center, we view living donation with the utmost respect and have a strong commitment to the safety and well being of every potential donor in our program. To help you as you consider this option, please review the answers to the most commonly asked questions below. In addition, please feel free to discuss any concerns with the specialists or coordinators you will meet with Albany Med's transplant program.

What is living donation?
It is a process by which a person donates a kidney to someone they are related to or have a special relationship with when a person is suffering from kidney failure.

What are some of the advantages of living donors vs. cadaveric donor transplants?

  • Decreased incidence of kidney rejection due to similar genetic backgrounds.
  • Immunosuppressive drug doses may be lowered sooner and thus possibly lessen the side effects of the medications.
  • Convenient scheduling. This may permit the recipient to shorten his/her time on dialysis or avoid dialysis completely. The wait for a cadaveric kidney usually takes several years.
  • Immediate function of the transplanted kidney. Occasionally, a cadaveric kidney may not function for days or weeks after being transplanted and the recipient will require dialysis in the interim.
  • The possibility exists of obtaining a perfectly matched kidney from a sibling which has proven to be the best for long-term success.
Father and son

More than 500 family members and
friends have donated a kidney to a
loved one at Albany Medical Center
in the past 30 years.

Can the transplant be performed prior to the recipient needing dialysis?
Yes, often a transplant can be performed before dialysis is necessary. This will have to be coordinated with the recipient's nephrologist, transplant surgeons, you the donor and the recipient.

What are the risks of being a donor?
As with any surgery, there is the risk of bleeding and infection. The risk of death is very small. Our job is to make certain that risks are minimized to the greatest extent possible. That is why the donor must undergo an extensive medical evaluation.

Who is the best donor?
The best donor for a kidney transplant is an identical twin. But, since most people don't have an identical twin, the next best match is usually a brother or sister. Then, in order of preference, are parents, children, other relatives and finally, living unrelated donors such as spouses or friends.

What do i need to do to determine if i'm a good donor?
The first step is to determine your blood type. This needs to be compatible with that of the recipient.