Donating a kidney to someone with kidney failure is a life-saving and life-changing decision — and one that no one should take lightly. The living kidney donor team at Rush understands the physical and emotional sacrifices of donating a kidney to a person who needs a kidney transplant. The team makes the safety of the living donor top priority.
An independent living donor advocate, or ILDA, will help you understand the consent, evaluation, surgical procedure, and follow-up process. The ILDA is a team member who promotes your best interests in the donation process and advocates for your rights as a donor.
To ensure that it is safe to proceed with donation, anyone interested in becoming a living kidney donor undergoes a thorough physical and psychosocial evaluation. The length of time required for the evaluation depends on the number of tests you need to complete and how quickly you are able to complete them. The team will not allow you to donate a kidney if it will jeopardize your immediate or long-term health.
The donor’s evaluation includes:
- Initial consultation with the multidisciplinary team including: transplant surgeon, nephrologist, nurse coordinator, dietician, and pharmacist
- Discussions with an independent living donor advocate (who will help you learn more about kidney donation and the consent process)
- Consultation with a social worker
- Blood work: blood and tissue type, screening for infectious diseases, clotting factors and other labs to assess general health
- Urine tests to evaluate kidney function
- Diagnostic exams: chest x-ray and EKG
- CT scan to evaluate the anatomy of the kidneys and blood vessels
- Pap smear for all females
- Mammogram for females 40 years and older
- Colonoscopy for donors 50 years and older
- Other consultations when indicated, including (but not limited to) a transplant psychiatrist, hematologist, cardiologist, or endocrinologist
- Additional tests as requested by the transplant team based on the individual donor’s medical and family history
If your evaluation uncovers any abnormalities, you may be asked to seek further medical care from your primary care provider.
Health information obtained during the evaluation is subject to the same regulations as all medical records and could reveal conditions that must be reported to local, state, or federal public health authorities.
Where do I start?
Fill out a living donor questionnaire to determine if you are eligible to be a living kidney donor. Or for more information, please contact our living donor transplant coordinator at (312) 947-GIFT (4438).