Top Organ Donation Myths

There are two types of donations- deceased organ donation and living organ donation.

In general, a person waiting for a deceased organ has a longer wait time. Typically, those who receive an organ from a living donor have a greater life expectancy post-transplant. Kidneys from living donors last longer, on average than those received from deceased donors.

Donating a kidney is a dangerous procedure and extremely painful.  

Most donors only spend 1-3 nights in the hospital and are able to return to work in 2-3 weeks, sometimes even sooner.

Out-of-pocket expenses for the donor will be too high.

It is the recipient’s insurance policy that covers the transplant and transplant-related follow-up. Lost wages are not covered by the recipient’s insurance except for UnitedHealthcare plans. The American Transplant Foundation can provide financial assistance to donors to help cover lost wages. Several states recently passed laws to offer tax credits to living organ donor to offset expenses related to organ donation.

Donating a kidney reduces the donor’s life expectancy. 

Donating a kidney does not reduce the living donor’s life expectancy. As living kidney donors must undergo rigorous health checks, they tend to be healthier and outlive the average person.

Surgery will affect the donor’s ability to have children. 

There is no evidence to support that kidney donation impacts the ability to have children. Donors should be open and upfront about their donation when consulting obstetricians or gynecologists.

No one will volunteer to be a donor, especially for a stranger.  

Since the first successful donation in 1954, over 150,000 people have become living donors, with an average of 6,500 happening annually. Also, 1 in 4 of these donors aren’t biologically related to the recipient. If your family members/friends are not a match, they can still save your life through paired exchange programs.

Dialysis is a viable long-term solution for all patients who are in kidney failure.

While dialysis can be life-saving, it is only a stop-gap. It is a long, tiring, physically and emotionally draining process that is very hard on the body. Dialysis can do only about 10% of the work that a functioning kidney can do and frequently causes other severe health problems such as anemia, infection, bone disease, heart disease, and nerve damage. Consequently, the average life expectancy of a person on dialysis is only about 5 years. Patients who have a transplant before dialysis becomes necessary live an average of 10–15 years longer than those on dialysis.

Not all religions support living donation. 

All major religions in the U.S. support living and deceased organ donation.

The only organ that can be donated by a living donor is a kidney.

Actually, there are 3:

  1. Kidney – most common type of living donation.
  2. Liver – individuals can donate a segment of the liver, which has the ability to regenerate and regain full function
  3. Uterus (new)

If I’m registered as an organ donor, when I die, my organs will be donated.

Only 3 in 1,000 people die in a way that allows for deceased organ donation.

You are more likely to end up on the transplant waitlist than to become a deceased donor.

Deceased organ donors must pass away under very specific circumstances and those waiting on the list cannot rely on deceased donations to save their lives.

Very soon transplant crisis will be solved thanks to pig kidneys and hearts.

It will take at least a decade for xenotransplantation to become an approved procedure, given that all goes well with current studies.

If someone wants to post their story about their need for a living donor they have to pay. No one will help me to find a living donor.

No, it’s free – the American Transplant Foundation’s Potential Living Donor Database. Ask the transplant center what resources are available. The American Transplant Foundation also offers a free peer mentorship program.

If you have PKD (polycystic kidney disease) history in your family, your kids are destined to inherit it.

Invitro fertilization is no longer just for parents who have a hard time conceiving, as it is now being used by parents who have a high likelihood of passing on a potentially debilitating genetic disease such as PKD to their child. This procedure is not currently covered by insurance plans.

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