Risks of Donation

As with any surgical procedure, there are risks involved. There are unique risks for those donating a kidney.

While it is likely you will go on to live a normal life, removal of a kidney could slightly increase the risk of:

  • High blood pressure
  • Kidney failure
  • Kidney disease
  • Depression after the surgery (may require the use of prescription antidepressants for a period of time)

Donating a kidney does not affect a woman's ability to get pregnant or to have a normal pregnancy and childbirth.

There may be surgical risks as well:

  • An allergic reaction to the anesthesia
  • Pneumonia
  • Blood clots in the lung
  • Infection of the wound or urinary tract
  • Bleeding (rarely, a blood transfusion may be needed)
  • Death (the rate of this happening is extremely low at 0.03%, or 3 out of every 10,000 procedures)*

Overall, the benefits of donating your kidney to your loved one in need of it far outweigh the risks for most donors. Saving the life of your loved one is a very rewarding experience. Many donors say they feel better about themselves after donating, that their life has a higher purpose. Donating can also strengthen ties between family members.

Our transplant team is ready to answer any questions you may have while considering being a living donor. Please contact Memorial Kidney Transplant Program and Surgery Services at anytime.