DEAR MAYO CLINIC: What is the process for evaluating whether or not I am a good candidate to donate one of my kidneys? How long is recovery for the donor?
ANSWER: The first step is to contact the transplant center where the donation would take place. They will perform a thorough medical evaluation to see if you can safely donate a kidney. Recovery from kidney donation surgery usually takes two to three weeks. But you will have some activity restrictions for up to six weeks.
Your kidneys are two bean-shaped organs, each about the size of a fist, in the back of your abdomen on either side of your spine. Kidneys remove extra fluid and waste from your body and help control blood pressure. When a person’s kidneys no longer work — a condition called chronic kidney failure — a kidney transplant usually is the best treatment option. A transplant often allows people to return to a fully active life.
A kidney for a transplant may come from a deceased donor or from a living donor. Kidneys from living donors usually last longer and work better than those from deceased donors. Living kidney donations are possible because although you have two kidneys, your body can work well with only one.