Living Donor Kidney Program

Today, 30% of Ochsner’s kidney transplant patients receive organs from living donors. While a kidney from a living donor is the best option for the patient, the decision to donate a kidney must be a voluntary one, made willingly. If you’re considering becoming a living kidney donor, it’s important that you become as informed as possible.

What is Living Donor Kidney Transplant?

There are more people on the national waiting list than there are available kidneys from deceased organ donors. One option is a living donor kidney transplant, a life-saving procedure using a kidney from someone who is still alive.

Most of us are born with two kidneys. When one of our kidneys is removed and transplanted into another person’s body, the human body adapts to life with just one kidney.

More Information

If you’re interested in being tested as a living kidney donor, call 504-842-3925 or 1-800-643-1635 and ask to speak with the Living Donor Kidney Coordinator.

For more detailed information about being a living donor and the donation process, please download our education handbook

Information for Living Kidney Recipients

Advantages of a Living Donor Kidney Transplant for the Recipient

Shorter wait times

Patients do not have to wait for three to five years on a list when they have a living donor. In most cases, the sooner they have their transplant, the better their health.

Health Information

If you become a living kidney recipient, we’ll know more about the past and present health of the donor’s kidney than we might about a kidney from a deceased donor. We are better able to make sure your kidney will work well for the patient. Also, kidneys from living donors usually work better for a longer time.

More timely transplant for patients not on dialysis

A living donor transplant can be done before the patient gets sicker or before they begin dialysis.

More time to plan

With a living donor, patients and their physicians have more time to plan. The patient’s transplant can be done when both the donor and the patient are in the best health possible.

Information for Living Kidney Donors

The Facts about Donating Your Kidney

Living kidney donation is safe, and there are no long-term health effects. Donating a kidney will not affect how long you’ll live and you will be at no greater risk for kidney failure than the average person. Adult family and friends can be considered as living donors.

You can donate if:

  • You are at least 18 years old
  • You are in overall good health
  • This is something you really want to do

You cannot donate if you:

  • Are severely overweight (BMI over 33)
  • Use illegal drugs or abuse drugs
  • Have cancer, diabetes, or an active infection
  • Are pregnant

You may be able to donate if you have:

  • High blood pressure that is well controlled
  • Kidney stones

Advantages of a Living Donor Kidney Transplant for the Donor

More time to plan

With a living donor, patients and their physicians have more time to plan. The patient’s transplant can be done when both the donor and the patient are in the best health possible.

A chance to give a unique gift

This is a special way for you to offer the gift of better health to a friend or family member needing a new kidney.

Steps to Being a Living Kidney Donor

One: The Interview

  • You must call to begin the process.
  • Your information and medical history will be taken over the phone.

Two: The Evaluation

  • Blood tests will be done to find out if your kidney is a match.
  • This can be done by your doctor in your hometown.
  • Tests are done to make sure you are healthy and that your kidneys work well.
  • We review your test and results and decide if you can donate.

Three: The Surgery

  • Surgery is scheduled after you are approved.
  • Robotic surgery is performed here at Ochsner with the da Vinci Surgical system. This means less time in hospital, less pain and a shorter recovery time. Ochsner is the only center in the region that uses this innovative technology.
  • Surgery lasts about two to four hours.
  • You’ll stay in the hospital for 24 hours.
  • You can restart most regular activities within two to four weeks.

The insurance of the person needing the kidney pays for the donor’s:

  • Testing
  • Surgery
  • Hospital stay
  • Medical visits for the first month after surgery

Note: Travel and time off from work are not paid for by insurance.

Kidney Paired Donation (KPD)

KPD is a national kidney swap program. This is an option if you:

Are not a match with the patient you would like to donate your kidney to
The patient needs a donor with a different blood type

How Kidney Paired Donation Works

  • The donor offers a kidney to someone in the country waiting for a kidney transplant. In return, the person you tried to donate a kidney to gets a kidney that matches them.
  • Your evaluation and surgery are done at Ochsner. (See Steps to Be a Living Donor.)
  • The donor’s kidney is sent to the transplant center where the person getting your kidney is being transplanted.
  • A kidney that matches your family member or friend is shipped to Ochsner for their transplant.