April is National Donate Life Month (NDLM) and a chance to raise awareness about the importance of organ donation. When it comes to donating organs, kidneys are special because they’re one of just a handful of organs that can be donated by a living person.
Making a live kidney donation is an incredibly brave sacrifice that can save another person’s life. That’s why at KidneySPA we celebrate donors as the heroes they are!
Here are some key facts about kidney donation:
- More than 90,000 people in the U.S. are waiting for a kidney donation.
- 85% of patients waiting for a transplant are waiting on a new kidney.
- The average waiting time for a kidney from a deceased donor is 3-5 years.
Because a person can live with only one kidney, a living donor offers patients an alternative to years of dialysis while they wait on the transplant list. Living donors can reduce this wait time to a year or less, and after the transplant, the donor’s remaining kidney will enlarge and start doing the work of two healthy kidneys.
So, who can donate a kidney? Family members are usually the most biologically compatible living donors, but many transplants occur between unrelated people. Different transplant centers have their own guidelines, but in general, living donors must be at least 18 years old, in good physical and mental health, and undergo an exam.
If you’re interested in becoming a real-life hero by saving someone’s life, register yourself as a living organ donor!