What is a living kidney donation?
This is when a healthy person donates one of his two kidneys to be transplanted in another person whose kidneys have stopped functioning due to illness, thereby giving that person a new lease of life.
A living kidney donation is common among close family members and close friends, but recently there has been an increase in the number of kidney donors who have donated a kidney to a stranger, out of a sense of mission and a desire to save a life.
A living kidney transplant is preferable to a transplant from a dead person for several reasons:
- Better match – conditions for testing the donor-recipient match are less pressured and therefore more favorable.
- Graft survival – research has shown that a kidney transplanted from a living donor survives and functions well in the recipient’s body for much longer than a kidney taken from a cadaver.
- A kidney from a living donor usually begins to function immediately, as opposed to a transplant from a dead person, which sometimes has difficulty in functioning initially.
- And the main reason – the number of cadaver transplants is insufficient to meet the demand, and the waiting period, which is sometimes as long as seven years, causes severe deterioration in the condition of those awaiting a transplant, and sometimes, unfortunately, their death.
What is the success rate in living kidney donations?
The success rate of kidney transplants is very high. More than 95% of transplants are successful, and the kidney survives for many years. Some 80% of transplants survive for five years, approximately half of living kidney transplants survive for more than 25 years, and some even last for 40 years or more.
Obviously, complications are possible, chiefly of graft rejection, but the level of medical care is such that most cases of rejection can be dealt with effectively, thanks to the considerable experience gained in recent years and new drugs that have been introduced.
Occasionally, the illness that originally caused the initial kidney failure reappears and attacks the transplanted kidney. This depends on the type of illness from which the recipient is suffering. The kidney transplant success rate in Israel is one of the highest in the world, and the newest developments, introduced only recently, are being used in Israel.