Living Donor Advocate
A living donor advocate serves to advocate for the best interest of a potential living donor; Following the living donor through surgery, recovery, and for as long as needed to provide support through individual or group counseling.
Federal regulations require transplant programs to appoint an independent donor advocate to ensure safe evaluation and care of living donors.
A living donor advocate’s role in counseling potential living donors includes but is not limited to:
- Identifying potential emotional risks to the donor.
- Determining whether the donor is capable of making the decision to donate and cope with the stress of a major surgery.
- Exploring rationale for donation to be sure the donor is free of pressure or guilt.
- Discussing how donation might impact the donor’s job or family relations.
- Reviewing nature of the relationship between donor and recipient.
- Determining the support systems that are in place for recovery.
- Ensuring donor understands risks of complications, recovery phase, and financial aspects of donation.
- Reinforcing that the transplant center will not discuss the donor evaluation with the recipient.
Meet The Living Bank Advocates
The Living Bank Independent Living Donor Advocates have a combined experience of over 15 years in the field of transplantation and living organ donation. They are highly skilled licensed clinical social work professionals and bring expertise, passion and dedication to The Living Bank organization.
Tracey Reeves, LCSW Shelley Spector, LCSW
Benefits of Living Donation
- Kidneys from living donors usually work immediately in recipients in comparison to kidneys from deceased donors.
- A living donor makes it possible to schedule the transplant at a time that is convenient for the donor and the transplant candidate.
- The newer, laparoscopic kidney donation surgery is less invasive and involves smaller incisions. This type of surgery can help to decrease recovery time for the donor.
Data on Living Donation
In 2013, 14,029 kidney transplants took place in the U.S. Of these, 9,314 kidney transplants came from deceased donors and only 4,715 came from living donors.
On average most living donors are Caucasian, female and between the age of 35-49.
Living Donor Age:
Ages 18-34: 31%
Ages 35-49: 41%
Ages 50-64: 26%
Age 65+: 2%
Living Donor Gender:
Living Donor Ethnicity:
American Indian/Alaska Native: 0.4%
Pacific Islander: 0.2%
2013 OPTN data as of April 25, 2014
There is limited long-term data available on how living donors do over time. A study published in 2010 in the journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), examined the mortality of more than 80,000 live kidney donors between 1994 and 2009.
“Researchers found that live donors death rates over six years were no higher than the rates for similar individuals who had not donated a kidney.”
The gift of an organ can save the life of a transplant candidate. What better gift to give than the gift of life.