Does it cost money to donate a kidney?
There are no direct costs to donate a kidney, but some people may lose pay because they can’t work while they complete the donor evaluation, have the surgery, and recover. As a donor you’ll need 6 to 12 weeks off school or work to recover from surgery. Donors also need to think about travel costs, parking, living expenses, and child, parent, or pet care costs.
You may want to talk with your employer about your decision to become a donor. You could ask if there’s any financial support you can get while you’re off work. Some options might be to use sick time, vacation time, short-term disability benefits, or medical employment insurance benefits.
Talk with your insurance company.
Donors may want to speak with their life insurance company to check if donating a kidney will affect their coverage. Here are some questions to ask:
- Will your insurance company still insure you or will your premiums go up because of the donation?
- Will long-term disability insurance cover you in case of a complication from the surgery?
- Will the insurance you have now be affected if a new health concern is found while you’re being evaluated?
You may want to consider that your chance of getting life insurance after the surgery could be affected if you don’t already have life insurance at the time of the surgery. If you have home mortgage insurance, find out if it will be affected by the donation.
If you’re a Canadian resident, provincial healthcare insurance pays all of the medical costs for donors, including the evaluation and surgery. Medical coverage includes hospitalization, surgery, and all the medicine you’ll need while you’re in the hospital. It doesn’t pay for medicine you’ll need when you’ve left the hospital and are back home.
You may want to see if there are any tax credits to help you get back some of your expenses.
Kidney Foundation of Canada and Alberta Health and Wellness offer the
Living Donor Expense Reimbursement Program (LODERP). This is a program that may pay back some of the expenses to eligible living donors.
Please note that you cannot be paid for donating a kidney.
Please talk to your living donor program coordinator or social worker to discuss what types of resources are available for you.
You may want to fill out a Personal Directive. This is a legal document where you choose another person to make health decisions for you when you’re not able to make them for yourself. Many people, when they go for major surgery, also create or update their Will.
If you live outside Canada, your donor costs may be covered by your medical insurance plan. If it isn’t covered, check with the living donor program caring for the recipient. The Alberta living donor program may be able to help with some of the costs. You must ask the recipient’s living donor program
before getting any tests done. Each request is considered on a case by case basis.
Donors from outside the country are also covered for assessment and surgery if it is done in Canada. Donors from outside the country who complete testing in their own country may have to pay first before the tests are done. The Alberta transplant centres may be able to pay back some of the costs, but this is not guaranteed.