In response to Ryan's comments, thank you for your detailed and informative post. The death risk from kidney removal surgery is 3 in 10,000. If the donor does not have high blood pressure, the risk of death drops to 1 in 10,000. Anonymous kidney donors with high blood pressure are not going to be approved. If someone is donating within a family, they are more likely to share the same health issues, mostly because people in a family eat similar foods. Unhealthy food like meat, dairy, sugar, eggs, oil, spark high blood pressure and diabetes, leading to kidney disease. The Standard American Diet (the SAD) is a huge profit maker for the health "care" industry. That's why heart disease causing steak is served to patients after open heart surgery.
Kidney disease costs billions of our tax money each year. A great deal of of money is saved with donor kidneys because kidney dialysis costs a fortune. There's plenty of data on this which is internet accessible. With good policy, high nutrient foods are promoted and subsidized, and the money saved could be reallocated to truly saving those who will suffer and die without the resources.
Only the super healthy pass the organ donation medical committee's thorough and caring scrutiny that combs through the medical record of potential donors before approving them. Those who are approved as anonymous donors are not at risk for kidney disease. Most people who contract kidney disease eat a high fat, salt and sugar diet. Donors need to pass multiple tests including a stress test, renal scan, psychological evaluation, and CAT scan. One of the reasons for the requirement of the CAT scan is to make sure the donor has 2 kidneys.
Because kidney donors are in top health and therefore at low risk for disease, kidney donors actually outlive average Americans. Donors have no food or drink restrictions. The only lifestyle change is that we can no longer take ibuprofen because the tablets damage kidneys.
In my case, the 8 days I took off work were covered by my sick days, so no income was lost. Was the effort worth the saving of four people who would die in the next couple of years without the new kidney? For Ryan, the answer is no. For me, the answer is a resounding yes. Donations to Give Well did not cease. Hundreds of thousands of health care dollars were saved.
My kidney donation experience was captured in this short video I made. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSsI7IkkmPY I will host a Reddit Ask Me Anything at 3pm EST on February 23rd, 2020.
Hello! I anonymously donated my kidney in January of 2020. This kicked off a kidney chain that provided four kidneys for people. Great article. One point that is missed is that by donating to a stranger and not meeting the recipient builds a greater, more caring bond with strangers.
Anyone among us could have my kidney that has served to end the hell of dialysis, a 12 hours a week that has been described as a "living death." This profound caring for strangers has the power to expand the donors' desire to help those we don't know in the human family.
I am aiming to inform those who may be interested with the knowledge about the possibility of anonymous kidney donation. I did not find out until I was 50. The younger the kidney, the better for the recipient. Live donor kidneys work immediately. Deceased donor kidneys can take 4-6 weeks to start working.
Being an anonymous kidney donor was the best decision I have ever made. Relieving suffering & saving lives is our shared human mission. Our 2nd kidney is not needed for our survival. It’s a vestigial organ, like our appendix. This spare kidney has the power to save strangers' lives. For those who are in top health, consider giving a part of yourself so others can live.
My kidney donation started a chain that provided kidneys for four people, achieving the maximum good from a single gift as an effective altruist does. In order to receive a kidney, my recipient’s loved one volunteered to donate a kidney to a stranger. The recipient of that second kidney had someone donate and so on until a total of four people received new kidneys.
I have started a Facebook Page called Kidneys 4 Strangers. I also made a short video about the adventure. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSsI7IkkmPY
Please feel free to be in touch with questions through the FB page.