Finding a donor whose kidneys are still functioning properly is not as easy as turning the palm of the hand. However, don't worry because this article contains various options that you have and can apply to make the process easier. Remember, you should try to find a living donor, especially since the kidneys of a deceased person have a higher risk of developing complications and less chance of success. If you want, you can also try reaching out to kidney donors using social media and other resources. After finding the right donor, immediately arrange a donation schedule with the doctor to complete the transplant process!
Method 1 of 4: Knowing How to Find a Suitable Donor
Step 1. Ask your relatives for help first
In fact, your close relatives are the most likely to become suitable kidney donors. That's why, you can try asking your closest relatives for help to do a health check, to find out their eligibility to become a kidney donor, before communicating it to friends or other people.
Step 2. Look for potential donors between the ages of 18 and 70
In particular, your kidney donor must be over 18 years of age. Although ideally their age range is between 18 and 70, actually people over the age of 70 can donate their kidneys as long as they have a good medical history and are considered strong enough by doctors to undergo surgery.
Step 3. Make sure the potential donor has a good medical history
A qualified donor should have a good history of kidney health. In other words, they must not have a history of kidney disease, and must not have a major health disorder that can trigger kidney problems. If possible, find a donor who doesn't smoke or drink alcohol to excess.
In addition, you should also look for donors who do not have diabetes, and are of normal weight. If your potential donor is obese, they generally need to lose weight before they are deemed eligible to donate a kidney
Step 4. Know the blood type that matches you
Previously, understand that there are four types of blood types, namely O, A, B, and AB. O is the most common type of blood type, followed by blood types A, B, and AB as the rarest type. Remember, the donor's blood type must match your blood type so that the transplant process can run smoothly. Thus, know your blood type to determine the appropriate donor blood group.
- Owners of blood type O can donate to owners of blood types O, A, B, and AB.
- Owners of blood type A can donate to owners of blood types A and AB.
- Owners of blood type B can donate to owners of blood types B and AB.
- Owners of blood type AB can donate to owners of blood type AB.
Method 2 of 4: Asking People Near You for Help
Step 1. Share your needs with your closest relatives and friends
First of all, raise the topic with people who have very close relationships with you, such as relatives or friends. However, don't start the conversation by forcing them to donate their kidney or directly asking them to be a donor. Instead, communicate your needs by explaining your health condition and prognosis to them first.
For example, you could start a conversation by saying, "I've had a discussion with the doctor, and it turns out that the doctor said I had to have a kidney transplant if I wanted to stay healthy. Yes, I can do dialysis, but it's not a long term solution. So by far, the best option I have is to find a kidney donor."
Step 2. Share the need with coworkers and others in your social circle
Also, don't hesitate to reach out to people from your social and professional circles, such as coworkers, community members, or neighbors. Discuss the desire to find a kidney donor by first telling your health condition. Besides being able to help you find a kidney donor, doing so will also increase their awareness of your condition, you know.
Also reach out to members of the religious community in your area, such as the nearest church or mosque. In other words, try to reach out to community members you already know well to increase your potential for a kidney donor
Step 3. Answer general questions and concerns
Of course, you should be prepared to answer any questions they may have regarding kidney donors. In addition to enriching the information they have, doing so will also increase their awareness of the process to be followed. On the other hand, doing so can also discourage them from donating their kidneys! Whatever the outcome, keep trying to provide as complete information as possible about the role of a kidney donor and the process they will have to go through.
- For example, your relative may ask, “What do I need to do to become a kidney donor?” or “What is your recovery percentage after getting a new kidney?” Try to answer these questions as honestly and as best you can, referring to the information you get from your doctor.
- Explain that after agreeing to become a donor, they will have to go through a series of health checks to ensure that their kidneys are still functioning properly and according to your needs.
- Also let them know when their donation is needed, such as as soon as possible or in the next few weeks. Help them understand your needs in the right frame of mind!
Step 4. Describe the operative procedure they will follow
Remember, you must be able to explain in detail about the donation process they have to go through as well as the duration of postoperative recovery. Do this to address any concerns and anxieties they have regarding the organ donation process.
- Explain that kidney donation surgery generally has minimal impact, and will often involve laparoscopic or other non-invasive procedures. Most donors are discharged from the hospital within one to three days after the operation.
- Also let them know that you don't mind extending your options, even to people whose kidneys aren't perfect for you, such as distant relatives. Don't worry, the latest medical technology allows individuals with a wider range of characteristics to become kidney donors.
Step 5. Let the other person offer to be a donor
Don't force those closest to you to become donors, nor make them feel guilty if they refuse your request. Instead, let them know your needs, make careful consideration, and volunteer if they are willing to do so. By doing so, surely the process of finding a donor will not make you too frustrated. In addition, all parties involved will feel more supported, right?
- If any of your relatives, friends, or co-workers offer to become donors, don't forget to say thank you. Then, emphasize that they can withdraw the decision whenever they want to change their mind. That way, they won't feel burdened or obligated to be a kidney donor for you.
- If several relatives offer themselves, try to accommodate all offers. Having more than one donor option will increase your chances of finding the most suitable donor.
Method 3 of 4: Leveraging Social Media and Other Resources
Step 1. Register as a donor recipient at the nearest hospital or transplant center
If you can't find a donor from among the people closest to you, you can also register yourself as a donor recipient at a hospital or transplant center. Supposedly, you'll find a donor when it's your turn, or when your doctor thinks you've found the right donor.
Unfortunately, the list of donors is generally very long, depending on the location of the transplant center or hospital, and their need for a kidney donor. However, sooner or later you will surely find a donor if you use this method
Step 2. Post your wish to find a kidney donor on social media
If you're having trouble finding a donor in your circle of friends or family, try searching for them on social media. For example, you can create a special Facebook page that contains your wish to find a kidney donor, then share it with your friends on social media. Or, you can also upload the wish on your social media profiles so that everyone will know your needs.
- In your post, include why you need a kidney donation, and what your current state of health is. Also include information about the donor criteria you need, such as age range, blood type, and medical history.
- Make sure your posts are personal and very specific. Also, choose words that sound familiar and friendly so that they can attract the attention of people who don't really know you.
- For example, you might say, "It's actually not easy to admit, but I think I have to be honest about my health. According to the doctor, my kidneys are damaged and will stop functioning in a few months. To overcome this, I want to do a kidney transplant so I don't have to go through the dialysis process. Unfortunately, the line is very long. That's why, I want to share this situation with all of my friends, and hope to find the right kidney donor by other means.”
Step 3. Join an online donor group
If you want, try joining an online community that houses organ donors and recipients. Having trouble finding it on the internet? Try asking your doctor for a recommendation!
- Generally, these forums can help you get the support and guidance you need in dealing with your kidney problems. In addition, you might also be able to collect references about potential kidney donors from other members of the forum, you know!
- Remember, 24% of living kidney donors are people who have no relationship with the recipient of the donation. While finding donors you don't know isn't easy, at least you've taken the right steps by expanding your interactions through public forums.
Method 4 of 4: Setting Up the Donation Process
Step 1. Meet your kidney donor with a doctor
After finding a suitable kidney donor, immediately arrange a time to meet with a doctor at a hospital or transplant center. In addition, also give the donor time to convey the plan to his partner, relative, or doctor who had been treating him before donating his kidney. In other words, make sure the donor feels supported and well prepared before making a donation. One way is to let him discuss with his support system and expert medical personnel.
If necessary, ask him to speak to people who have previously been living donors to understand the kidney donation process in more detail. Some hospitals and transplant centers may also be able to recommend support groups specifically aimed at kidney donors, so your donors can communicate more deeply with living donors and donors who have been or will be going through the process
Step 2. Donor eligibility test
In fact, the living donor you choose must be willing to donate a kidney, as well as have excellent physical health. In addition, the donor also does not need to be of the same race or gender as you. After finding the right donor, he will most likely undergo a medical examination to ensure the donation process can run well afterward.
- The donor eligibility evaluation process can take from one to six months. In general, the hospital or transplant center will perform blood tests, blood pressure, heart rate, and lung function. Approaching the donation date, he also needs to do a CT scan to make sure his kidneys are in excellent condition.
- Did you know that people over the age of 70 can also donate their kidneys? In fact, anyone can become a kidney donor, as long as his kidneys are healthy and his body is strong enough to undergo surgery. Smokers can also become donors, although before and after surgery, they must stop smoking for a while.
Step 3. Set a donation date
Once the donor's eligibility has been proven, the doctor will immediately determine a donation schedule that best suits your needs, and according to the time they need to prepare for surgery.
- During the operation, both the donor and the recipient will receive general anesthesia and are placed in an adjoining operating room. Then, the doctor will take the donor kidney and transfer it into your body.
- The transplant process is generally quick and painless for both the donor and you. In addition, donors and recipients of donations are usually allowed to leave the hospital after a few days, and return to their normal activities within four to eight weeks afterward.