Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is living donation?
Living donation takes place when a living person donates an organ or part of an organ to be transplanted into a loved one in need. The living donor is most often a close family member, such as a parent, child, brother or sister. A living donor can also be a more distant family member, spouse or friend.
Q. What is living kidney donation?
The kidney used in transplantation that comes from a donor who is alive. Kidneys from a living donor have a better chance of long term survival. The donor must be in good health before this can be done.
Q. Are there any age limits?
The age limit for donation is constantly changing. Today, almost anyone can be considered for organ and tissue donation.
Q. Who can be a living donor?
Living donors can be:
"Living related" - such as siblings, parents, aunts, uncles, or cousins: or
"Living unrelated" - also called emotionally related donors, such as spouses, in-laws, adoptive parents or children, or very close friends.
The decision to donate an organ is important and must be made by the DONOR. You should not under any circumstances, feel pressured to donate an organ. Our experienced transplant team stands ready to advise and assist you in this process.
Q. Suppose someone decides against being a living donor?
A decision to become a living donor should be voluntary and free from internal or family pressures. Individuals have the right, after discussing and considering the facts, to decide that kidney donation is not for them. Likewise, individuals who have kidney failure have the right to decide against a transplant. The patient must live with the disease, and he or she alone has the right to decide what is to be done. That decision as well as the donor's must be respected.
Q. What kind of tests does a transplant evaluation include?
A transplant evaluation includes many tests to ensure that you are healthy enough to have a transplant. To make sure your kidney will be a good match, tests will be done to include your blood and tissue type to determine compatibility. This lab work will require about five (5) tubes of blood. Other tests include:
Testing for any active infections
Urine tests to check your kidney functions
Chest and Kidney X-rays
Tests to see how well your blood clots
Women must be cleared by a gynecologist and men must have a test for prostate cancer. You are also required to have a dental examination. Other tests may be required depending on your age and medical history. During this process you will meet with a social worker and a transplant coordinator.
Q. What are the risks associated with kidney donation? Will I be able to lead a normal life?
Although some risks are associated with any major operation, donating one kidney does not pose a major risk to a healthy donor. Studies have shown that the remaining kidney will continue to function normally and will compensate for the loss of the other kidney. Kidney donation should not restrict or interfere with your lifestyle after full recovery from the surgery. There is no need for any special diet or medication after donation.
Q. Can I become pregnant after surgery?
It is recommended that you wait for one (1) year after surgery before becoming pregnant.
Q. Can organs and tissues be transplant between races and genders?
Yes. Gender and race are not factors considered in the matching process.
Q. Why should I consider becoming an organ donor?
Advances in Medical Science have made transplant surgery extremely successful. Transplantation is no longer considered experimental, but rather a desirable treatment option.
Q. Why don't more people donate?
Lack of awareness of the current status of organ transplantation in Trinidad and Tobago is a major factor.
Q. How many scars will I have after surgery?
There are two types of surgery that can be performed:
Traditional Donor Nephrectomy - This operation is performed using an incision across the flank below the rib on one side of the back. The kidney is secured and removed under direct vision.
Most donors need to stay in the hospital for four (4) to five (5) days and can usually resume work in three (3) to six (6) weeks, depending on they type of work they do.
Laparoscopic Donor Nephrectomy -This operation is performed by using a "scope" to peer into the abdomen through a small incision. This approach makes it possible to locate, secure and remove the kidney through a surprisingly small wound. This "minimally invasive" surgery allows for a faster recovery than with the traditional operation. Donors are generally able to leave the hospital one or two days after the surgery and can often resume work within two to three weeks.
Q. Will I need any follow-up evaluations?
Six to nine months following your surgery you will need to have blood and urine tests and be evaluated by a nephrologist. The kidney transplant co-coordinator will schedule these follow-up tests. These tests do not require a stay in the hospital. The results will give a good indication of the function of your remaining kidney.
Q. How do I prepare for surgery? What if I have more questions?
Before the surgery, you will receive counseling to help you prepare mentally and emotionally for the donation and recovery. At this time, if you have additional questions, you can contact the National Organ Transplant Unit at (868)-662-7556, (868)-645-2640 ext. 2580
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