Direct donation was by far the most common type of donation amongst survey respondents. In this post, I take a closer look at the experience for those who participated in paired exchanges and donation chains.
11% of the survey respondents say they were treated for surgical complications during their initial hospital stay after their kidney donation. How do those complications impact recovery times, long term outcomes, and feelings about donation?
Everyone's body heals differently and answers to questions about how a scar looks and feels depends on a few pretty obvious factors -- time since the surgery, type of incision, and how the incision was closed.
With the input from other living kidney donors, I created this survey to help share the perspectives of other donors and to help guide conversations that can be difficult or overwhelming. The intention is not to reinforce any particular perspective, but to simply create a better and more complete starting point where information can seem scarce.
All surveys can be biased and data is not always as precise as we'd like it to be. Before digging in to the results, look at how the respondents of this kidney donor survey answered a few key questions about their experience and think about how those answers may influence other responses throughout the survey.
Everyone's recovery is different and it's important to prepare for best and worst case scenarios. In the survey, I asked a few questions to help give a prospective donors a better sense of timelines and how much it can vary.
I asked the kidney donors who took the survey where their surgery and their recipient's surgery took place. The majority of surgeries took place in the US, with 37 states represented. 5% of the respondents donated outside of the US.
If both kidneys function equally, surgeons usually prefer to take a donor's left kidney. The survey data is consistent with that, but when I shared the breakdown of the left vs. right kidney donors I learned that this choice could have long term impacts on the donor's health.