Living kidney donation
Process for living kidney donation
Call the transplant centre in your area
If you would like to donate a kidney during your lifetime, contact one of Québec’s five transplant centres.
CHU de Québec – Université Laval
Telephone number: 418-525-4444, ext. 15691
Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux de l’Estrie – Centre hospitalier universitaire de Sherbrooke (CHUS)
Telephone number: 819-346-1110, ext. 14129
Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM)
Telephone number: 514-890-8000, ext. 30859
Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux de l’Est-de-l’Île-de-Montréal – Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont
Telephone number: 514-252-3400, ext. 1275
McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) – Glen Site
Telephone number: 514-934-1934, ext. 36003
A medical assessment of your physical and psychosocial health is essential if you want to be a living kidney donor. The assessment is carried out by a diverse team of health care professionals.
The purpose of the medical assessment is to ensure that:
- you are healthy enough to donate a kidney;
- your kidney will be safe for the recipient;
- the risks to your current and future health are as low as possible.
The process can be completed in a few weeks or over several months, depending on your health and your medical history. An effort is made to arrange a suitable schedule and minimize the number of visits to the hospital depending on your professional and family obligations.
You can stop the assessment process at any time. If a health problem is detected during the assessment, you will be referred to a doctor for appropriate management and treatment. If the results obtained during the assessment are a contraindication, the process could also be terminated. The reasons for the refusal will be explained to you.
The medical assessment process consists of four steps:
Pre-assessment is usually done when you call a transplant centre. During this first contact, a living donation nurse will carry out a brief assessment of your health and medical history over the telephone.
2- Nurse’s visit
The nurse who did your pre-assessment will invite you to a meeting. During the visit with the nurse, she will:
- have you complete a consent form for the assessment;
- collect comprehensive information about your personal medical history and lifestyle;
- provide you with additional information about the assessment process;
- answer your questions.
Blood and urine tests as well as medical imaging tests will be prescribed. Most of the tests are done within a few days, but some may take several weeks. In addition to assessing your health, these tests are used to check your compatibility with the recipient you would like to donate a kidney to.
If the results show that you and your recipient are not compatible, the transplant will fail. In this case, you may decide to participate in the Canadian Blood Services Kidney Paired Donation Program . This program allows you to donate your kidney to another recipient and allows your recipient to receive a kidney from another compatible living donor.
3- Medical specialist’s visit
Once your laboratory and imaging tests have been done, you will meet with a living kidney donation specialist, a nephrologist.
During the visit, the medical specialist will:
- explain the results of your tests;
- tell you about the short- and long-term risks and complications of living kidney donation;
- complete your medical history;
- complete a medical questionnaire;
- perform a physical examination;
- give you recommendations to follow after donation;
- answer your questions.
4- Final decision
The final decision on whether or not you are eligible to be a donor is made by an interdisciplinary committee. The committee reviews your file once all the tests and examinations have been done, including psychosocial and surgical assessments.
Following a discussion by the members of the interdisciplinary committee, you will be informed whether or not you are eligible to be a donor. If you are eligible, you will be told the date of your surgery.
A few days before the scheduled date of your surgery, some final blood tests are done.
In most cases, kidney removal surgery is performed under general anesthesia using a technique called laparoscopy. This technique reduces the risk of complications and requires only a short hospital stay, 3 days on average.
Recovery after surgery will take a few weeks. In general, you will be able to resume most of your activities in 4 to 6 weeks.
Medical follow-up after donation
After donating a kidney, you must maintain a healthy lifestyle and agree to have medical follow-up. This follow-up is essential to detect any complications secondary to kidney donation or any medical condition that may affect your kidney function in subsequent years.
Medical follow-up with the living donation team consists of 2 or 3 visits in the months after the kidney removal surgery. After this, a general check-up is done annually. The assessment can be done by your family physician provided the results are communicated to the living donation team.
For more information, see the My paired Donation Cocach Canada tool from the Canadian blood Services.
Last update: July 4, 2022