Kidney Transplant Program
Become a Kidney Donor
The following information is provided to help you understand how to become a kidney donor. This process is divided into four phases.
Registration and Patient Portal
The first stage of the living donor process is for the potential donor to call the Emory Transplant Center. A call center agent will ask for your name, dob, address, telephone number, social security number and email. In addition, you will be asked the name of your intended recipient and his/her date of birth* (required). If you do not have an intended recipient, please let the operator know.
You will be asked to enroll in Emory’s patient portal (personal health information is protected) email system. You will determine your password and then may communicate with your coordinator as needed by selecting Living Donor in the portal directory.
Once you are registered, you will receive a living donor questionnaire that you may complete at your convenience. The transplant coordinator will review your questionnaire and contact you within 5-10 business days. At this time, additional questions will be asked, information verified and education provided about the donor process. If there are no obvious barriers to donation, and with your permission, screening tests may be ordered at this time.
Screening tests include a 24 hour urine collection, tests for kidney function and diabetes, and your blood type will be identified to see if you are able to donate directly to your intended recipient.
If a donor lives out of state and does not wish to initially come to Emory, we will arrange blood work and pre-evaluation testing to be completed at a remote lab location.
Compatible blood groups for living donor transplantation:
A or O
B or O
A, B, AB, or O
With the blood type identification test, a second test must be performed called the crossmatch. This test determines if your recipient may have antibodies or sensitivities to you. If the crossmatch test result is positive, this signifies the recipient has the ability to attack the donor's cells and the transplanted kidney. Therefore the donor would not be able to donate to their recipient. However, a negative crossmatch result signifies the recipient does not have antibodies against the donor's kidney and he/she could be a potential donor.
This test takes approximately 4-6 weeks for the results to be completed. Your screening blood and 24 hour urine tests will be completed before the crossmatch results are available. Your coordinator will present your test results at the Living Donor Patient Conference. After the conference, a coordinator will notify you of the result
Many times multiple donors come forward for the same recipient have blood testing performed for one recipient. Emory’s policy provides for the screening of up to 10 potential donors per recipient at a time. If a suitable donor is not found in the first group of 10, we will continue screening patients in the order they registered.
It is against federal law to release information to the recipient about who or how many donors were tested. Donation is a confidential process; it is against federal law to share personal health information (PHI). Your transplant coordinator cannot share any information about your process with your intended recipient or any other individual who may ask. The Emory transplant team will evaluate each potential donor very carefully.
After taking all factors into consideration, only one donor at a time will be scheduled for the medical evaluation appointment.
During this visit, we provide donation education and perform a thorough medical and psychological evaluation to determine donor suitability. The potential donor will meet the members of the transplant team, which include the transplant surgeon, transplant nephrologist, transplant coordinator, financial coordinator and social worker.
To determine the health status of the potential donor, the following medical tests are performed:
- Medical history and physical examination
- Chest X-ray
- Electrocardiogram (EKG)
- A CT angiogram with contrast
- Pap smear
- Mammogram age 40 and over
- For donors age 50 and older, also includes a 2D echocardiogram, cardiac stress test and colonoscopy
The donor is asked to provide the results of their testing to their local physician. The actual evaluation must be done at Emory Transplant Clinic in Atlanta.
Resources for Kidney Donors
- Georgia Transplant Foundation: a non-profit organization dedicated to providing support and resources to help both kidney recipients and living donors.
- National Living Donor Assistance Program: the goal of the Living Donor Assistance Program is to help living donors deal with financial hardships created as a result of their donation.
- National Kidney Registry: Emory is one of over eighty member transplant centers in the National Kidney Registry (NKR). We enroll incompatible pairs (donor and recipient), compatible pairs (may match but have a wide age range) and non-designated donors who would like to start a chain and facilitate a number of people being transplanted. The NKR organizes swaps or chains that may have pairs included from both sides of the United States. Each donor is operated on at his/her transplant center, only the kidney travels.
For questions about our Living Donor Kidney Program, call 855-EMORYTX (366-7989).
How Can We Help You Today?
Need help? We will be delighted to assist you today, so please call us at 404-778-7777. We look forward to hearing from you.
Emory's transplant programs continue to provide excellent transplant outcomes in patient and graft survival rates.
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The Mason Guest House is a private retreat that offers low-cost housing for organ transplant candidates, recipients, living donors and their families.