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Transplant Recipient Information

Information for Living Donors

What does a living donor need to do?

A potential donor is someone who is interested in donating and needs to be evaluated to make sure they’re able to donate.

An approved donor is someone who has been evaluated and is accepted to donate. They are waiting for a date for the surgery.

The programs for recipients and donors are separate to keep people’s medical information private. But both programs work together to coordinate donations. A person who is thinking about becoming a living donor (potential donor) needs to contact the living donor program to learn about donation and how it works.

Potential donors have lots of tests done (the donor evaluation). This is to make sure they’re healthy and not at risk of kidney disease in the future. The Living Donor Program will order these tests, which can be done close to their home. Tests include:

  • Blood type and compatibility testing.
  • Virus testing (e.g., HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C testing).
  • Chest x-ray.
  • Ultrasound.
  • Blood pressure, height, and weight.

As part of the evaluation, potential donors are asked to have their family doctor screen them for cancer (e.g., Pap test, mammogram, prostate exam, and fecal immunochemical test). The Living Donor Program will contact the donor’s family doctor when it’s time to screen. We suggest that the donor’s family doctor doesn’t start the donor assessment so the donor doesn’t have unnecessary or repeated tests.

Remember that at any time during the evaluation, donors have the right to change their mind.

Does having an evaluation mean a living donor is approved?

Not all people who have the evaluation tests are approved to donate. Sometimes the tests find health problems that the donor didn’t know about (e.g., high blood pressure or diabetes). If this happens, or if it’s found that the person’s kidneys may not be healthy enough to donate, the evaluation stops.

Can a living donor be from outside of Alberta?

A potential donor can be from another province or country. Potential donors who live outside of Alberta need to contact the recipient’s local living donor program office. It also helps to have the name of the living donor program that is closest to the donor. Both programs will work together to manage the evaluation.

Can I still get pregnant or father a child if I donate a kidney?

There is no research evidence to show that donating your kidney affects your fertility. If you‘ve just had a baby and want to donate a kidney, you’ll usually have to wait 1 year after your pregnancy to donate.

We recommend that women not get pregnant for 6 months to 1 year after donation. This lets your body fully recover from the major surgery.

Your chance of having a healthy baby is about the same as anyone else.

Pregnancy does affect the kidneys and having only 1 kidney means you’ll need to be watched carefully for any problems. You are at a slightly higher risk of having high blood pressure and protein in the urine (pre- eclampsia) during pregnancy. These usually need treatment with medication. If you become pregnant after you have donated a kidney we strongly recommend that you talk to your doctor right away. They’ll work with you to carefully watch your kidney function during your pregnancy.​​​​​

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