More than 120,000 patients are waiting for an organ transplant in the US, and the numbers keep increasing. There aren’t enough donors, and that’s always a concern for doctors. A patient may have all the money in the world, but he will still have to be on the waiting list to find a donor, which can take years. For some lucky patients, living donors come as a blessing. What is a living donor? Are there are any risks? What organs can be donated? In this post, we are sharing the details worth knowing.

The basics

A living donor is someone who decides to donate an organ during their lifetime. Typically, most transplant surgeries are done after the donor is dead, but living donors can choose to donate certain organs, to help someone. Mostly, one kidney, part of liver, one lung, and part of intestine and pancreas can be donated, of which kidneys are required the most. Living donors can choose to donate to someone they know – like a spouse, child, or parent, or to a friend. It is also possible to donate to someone the donor doesn’t know at all.

Benefits of living donations

Many living donor transplants involve members of the same family, so the genetic match is likely to be better. Besides, for many patients, waiting for a transplant is just not an option. Also, the organ, especially kidney, is transplanted immediately, which can increase the rate of success. Living donations can be planned, and this is often very beneficial for patients in need.

What about the risks?

It is important for living donors to be healthy – physically, mentally and psychologically. They need to be absolutely sure of the decision, and a complete checkup will be done by doctors to ensure that the donor will have a normal life to the best possible extent. However, with any kind of surgery, there are risks, and there are cases, although not many, where living donors needed weeks in recovery. However, hospital stay is typically limited. There can be long-term health risks, which must be discussed with the doctors.

In conclusion

Anyone between the age of 18 and 60 can become a living donor, unless they have certain health conditions, like diabetes and high blood pressure, and diseases like cancer and HIV. Talk to your doctor in detail, if you intend to help someone, and weigh the risks, which can be different for each person.