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Healthy Living

For Donors
Would you like to be a Donor?

You can donate a kidney when you are alive or you can register for organ donation and carry a donor card for the donation of your kidney on your demise. In the latter case, donation depends on the cause of death and on how quickly your kin and treating doctors arrange for the harvest of organs.

Being a Live Donor

Registering to be a donor

Live donor – Some FAQs

Who can donate a kidney?
  • Anyone who is generally healthy and has two fully functioning kidneys can be a live donor.

  • Your tissue type should match that of the patient.

What is the advantage of donating a live Kidney?

To the donor, there is no discomfort. If his other kidney is healthy, it is adequate to perform all kidney functions. To the recipient the benefits are many:

  • The patient does not have to join the long queue for the availability of a kidney.

  • The quality of the organ tends to be superior to that of a kidney removed from a cadaver. The organ spends minimum time in storage.

  • The success rate of live kidney transplant is high.

What is the surgical procedure the donor has to undergo and what are the possible complications?


A ten inch long cut is made on the stomach ( or on the side) on the left or right depending on the kidney to be removed. This is done under general anaesthesia. The surgeon cuts through three layers of tissue. The kidney is taken out and the donor is stitched up. The procedure takes about four hours. After the operation, the patient is given painkillers, nourishment is given intravenally and a catheter is used for urine collection. A week’s hospital stay is essential.

Alternatively, laparascopic removal is also possible. Here the cut is smaller, the operation is less invasive and requires shorter hospital stay. However this procedure is not as common as surgery.


In India racketeering in organs was rampant in the early nineties. Poor people were tempted to sell their kidneys for a few thousand rupees by middlemen who made huge profits. Apart from the moral issues, poor aftercare was reported for donors.

However, if the operation is done in a hospital of good standing, there are no major risks involved, if the donor is generally healthy.

  • The donor has to cope with pain and is usually hospitalised for a week or so. By this time, he or she is able to walk and use the toilet without help.

  • He or she has to guard against infection in the area of incision.

  • As with any surgery under anaesthesia, the possibility of catching pneumonia exists.

  • Collapsed lung. The kidney is close to the lung, and the pleura, the space around the lung, may be accidentally opened during surgery. If so, the lung may collapse. In such a case, a tube is inserted in the chest to expand the lung.

Registering for Organ Donation

There a few organisations in India where you can register for kidney donation. Multi Organ Harvesting Aid Network ( MOHAN) Foundation is one. You can contact the following addresses, fill in a form and get yourself a donor card.

MOHAN Foundation
Post Box No. 7155
Chennai-600 102
email: shroff@giasmd01.vsnl.net.in www.mohanfoundation.org

MOHAN Foundation,A-81, Anna Nagar, Chennai-600 102
MOHAN Foundation,P.O. Box No.16775, Sion (W),
Mumbai - 400 022.

However, remember, whether you have the card or not, your kin must permit the removal of organs at the time of death. If they object, your organs cannot be removed.

Dos and Don’ts for Kidney patients:

Whatever treatment option you prefer, or whatever stage your kidney disease is in, here are some things you have to watch out for:
  • If you have diabetes, watch your blood sugar closely to keep it under control. Consult your doctor for the latest in treatment.

  • Have your blood pressure checked regularly. You should get your doctors’ advice on how best this should be kept under control.

  • Avoid pain killers or other drugs that may make your kidney disease worse. Check with your doctor before taking any medicine.

  • Diet restrictions: Some types of foods make things worse for a kidney patient. You may be asked to restrict the salt in your food. Salt contains sodium and this steps up your blood pressure. Potassium is another mineral ( Found in fruits) that you may have to restrict.
    You should keep a check on your cholesterol levels. Cholesterol narrows the arteries and affects proper blood circulation.
    Your protein intake will have to be watched. Healthy kidneys can retain protein when filtering out wastes. However, problem kidneys will not be able to do this efficiently. More proteins in the diet means more work for the kidneys. Yet, protein is essential for the body. Seek your doctor’s advice.

  • You may need to be treated for anaemia. Healthy kidneys make the hormone EPO, which stimulates the bones to make red blood cells. Diseased kidneys may not make enough EPO. This has to be supplemented.

  • Increase Your Awareness


Here are some safeguards against kidney disease:
  • Control your blood pressure.

  • If you are a diabetic, ensure tight control of your blood sugar levels.

  • Eat a well-balanced diet and exercise regularly.

  • Drink plenty of fluids (6-8 glasses of water per day).

  • Do not overuse over-the-counter medications.

  • Treat wounds and infections; follow your doctor’s instructions.

  • Limit exposure to heavy metals and toxic chemicals.


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