Being a Kidney Recipient
In order to receive a kidney transplant, you must first be evaluated for a transplant by a transplant center (a hospital that does transplants – not every hospital does them). The evaluation is used to make sure you’re a good candidate for a transplant. This must happen before any potential living donors can be considered. If you have not been evaluated for a transplant yet, you can:
- Ask your doctor for a referral to a transplant center
- You can also find and contact U.S. transplant centers near you. Call and ask for the “Kidney Transplant Coordinator”, who will be a registered nurse who can help.
Then, talk to your transplant center about living and deceased donation options. Make sure that you are active on the waiting list for a transplant from a deceased donor, even if you prefer to get a kidney from a living donor.†
Dialysis vs. Transplant
Dialysis: Dialysis artificially does what healthy kidneys do. It pumps blood out of your body, cleans it and returns it to your body. There are two types of dialysis: hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. Hemodialysis is performed multiple times a week and takes three to five hours each session, while peritoneal dialysis must be done daily.
While there is still no cure for kidney disease, dialysis treatments provide a way to continue to filter the body, when the kidney can no longer do it on its own.
Transplant: A kidney transplant is an operation in which a person with kidney failure receives a new kidney. The new kidney takes over the work of cleaning the blood. Unlike many other organs, a kidney can be acquired from either a deceased donor or from a living donor. While a transplant may provide a better quality of life and greater life expectancy for a recipient (compared to dialysis), it’s essential that both donors and recipients understand the procedure and are aware of the risks.
Resources for Recipients
UNOS Transplant Living
Transplant Living is a patient-centered web site of the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) with information for those actively seeking a transplant.
National Kidney Foundation
Featuring a Peer Mentor Program, connecting individuals with those who have been through the experience of dialysis or kidney transplantation. Call 855-653-7337 (855-NKF-PEER) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here to find a transplant center near you.
† Information provided by the National Kidney Foundation, www.kidney.org
Expanding Resources for Recipients
In addition to its already published Living Donor Guide, The Erma Bombeck Project seeks to expand awareness and education through the creation of a Kidney Transplant Recipient Guide. The goal is to acquire the funding and collaborative resources needed to create this important supplemental piece.
Your support means greater outreach to those willing to give the gift of life! To find out how you can help, visit the Contact Us page and send us your questions. We can all make a difference to close the gap between the number of patients waiting for a kidney – and the number of kidneys available.