Organ donation

Feelings after donating a kidney

All the donors we interviewed were glad they had donated a kidney to help a family member, friend or someone on the transplant waiting list have a better quality of life. Some said there were ‘no downsides’ at all and that donating a kidney to help someone else had made them feel they had done something very useful and worthwhile. Chris said he was grateful to have had the opportunity to help someone else and Paul, a GP, said that, as well as helping someone else, he’d gained some insights into how it feels to be a patient. This was the first operation he’d had.
Some of the people we spoke with said the experience had made them look at work differently. Darren said he now wanted to work with people, especially those dealing with mental health issues. Clare said she had never had so much time off work and it had made her reflect on retirement. She also saw her experience as ‘a new beginning’.
A few people said donating a kidney had made them more aware of their own health. They now wanted to eat more healthily or drink less alcohol.
 
Several donors said the experience of donating a kidney had been extremely enriching and that they had, quite unexpectedly, gained a lot from it.
Wallee said that his relationship with the friend to whom he had donated, had entered a new phase (see The recipient’).
None of the people we interviewed regretted donating a kidney and they advised others to think about living donation and organ donation (see Views on organ donation' living donors).
 
We did not come across any adults who’d had difficult experiences of living kidney donation. If you are over 18 and would be interested in sharing your experiences for Healthtalk, please email hergadmin@phc.ox.ac.uk

Last reviewed May 2016.

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