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)

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)*

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

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.