Becoming a donor requires both physical and psychological screening to ensure that a candidate is a suitable fit.
1. Discussions with Family and Friends
While donating an organ is an intensely personal decision, it can be helpful to discuss the risks and benefits with loved ones before deciding to proceed.
Once you’ve decided to proceed, the transplant center of your choice will begin a screening process. This will likely include more than one physical examination to ensure that your organs are in good working order, and that their anatomy is well-suited to transplantation.
There is also a psychological component to this evaluation – organ donation can be intense from both a mental and emotional standpoint, so medical professionals need to ensure that a candidate can still thrive after their donation.
Finally, there is a financial component to these evaluations – transplant centers want to ensure that time off from work won’t harm your livelihood. Fortunately, there are programs in place that can assist donors with lost wage reimbursement, travel and lodging costs, long-term health insurance, and more.
3. The Procedure
Once approved as a suitable candidate, a donor will then likely wait for a period of anywhere from a few weeks to a few months until the right recipient is identified. The procedure itself is not without risk – it’s still major surgery, after all – but most donors are out of the hospital within a few days.
Your donor status does not end when you walk out of the hospital. The transplant center will continue to be in touch with you for a long period afterwards to verify that you’re recovering well – both physically and mentally.
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