There is always a shortage of organ donors in the world. Many patients die without getting a life-saving transplant, and truth be told, most transplants happen after the donor has died. As such, living donors are extremely important to patients and doctors alike. People, unfortunately, do not know much about donating organs during their lifetime. So, who can become a living donor? Can a living donor lead a healthy life? In this post, we are busting some of the common myths about becoming a living donor.
- Anyone can become a living donor
False: While anyone, regardless of age, can choose to become an organ donor, living donors must fulfill certain criteria. A living donor must be aged 18 or above, and should mentally and physically fit. He/she must also have normal liver function, and shouldn’t have chronic diseases, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. A complete checkup must be done to determine, whether the person is psychologically and physically prepared for the surgery.
- Kidney donation requires removal of a liver
False: This is also a common myth around kidney donation. Most living donors typically donate one kidney, and the procedure is done using laparascopic surgery, which is minimally invasive, and definitely no rib is removed.
- Only young people can become living donors
False: While age is a factor and people over the age of 60 cannot become living donors in most cases, there is no criterion that says that living donors have to be young. A considerable number of living donors are aged 45 and above.
- Living donors must stay in hospital care for weeks
False: While organ donation is a major surgery, extensive hospital stay is not required. Most donors stay for a few days and are asked to recuperate at home. Typically, the stay at the hospital doesn’t exceed a week. That being said, there are exceptions. A lot of it depends on the surgery and how the donor heals.
- Living donors cannot change their mind
False: You can definitely say a ‘no’ to becoming a living donor, after having made a commitment. The thing is living donation is not an easy decision, and it can take a psychological toll on a person, and therefore, there is always time to take the reverse decision.
Finally, let’s not forget that living donors don’t have to necessarily donate the organ to someone they know – sometimes, people donate to patients unknown to them.