World Organ Donation Day 2019: Want to Be a Donor? 6 Things You Should Consider Before Donating an Organ

Despite the oh-so-advanced medical science, sometimes the only way to save a person is to donate an organ. If your statistics match, you can surely donate your vital organs like your kidney, part of your liver, pancreas, and intestines, as well as blood and give your loved one a second chance to live. However, donating an organ is no cake walk. You can suffer from a host of discomforts after the donation and therefore it only makes sense to prepare yourself for consequences.

1 You Will Have To Undergo Several Tests

Besides being healthy, you must have compatible blood and tissue types with the recipient. The transplant team will perform tests to see if your blood and tissues are compatible (are a healthy match) with the kidney recipient. They will also perform psychosocial and medical tests to check and ensure that you stay healthy after donation. The tests will include blood tests, urine tests, imaging exams, and cancer screenings. Here's everything you should know about donating your organs. 

2 You Can Suffer From a Range Of Health Problems

You will also have a scar from the surgery depending on the size and location of the scar and the type of operation you have. Some donors have also reported long-term problems with pain, nerve damage, hernia or intestinal obstruction. These risks seem to be rare, but there are currently no national statistics on the frequency of these problems. Also, if you donate your kidney, you could be at a greater risk of high blood pressure and reduced kidney function.

3 You May Experience Depression and Anxiety

Donors often experience a range of emotions from joy to anxiety to depression after donation. The process of getting through the evaluation and surgery can be so time-consuming that you may not have time to process everything you are feeling. It is normal for these emotions to come to the forefront after the donation and transplant take place. Concerns about the recipient's outcome can also contribute to feelings of anxiety and let-down.

4 You Will Need To Upgrade Your Lifestyle after Donation

You will be able to go back to your regular lifestyle after donation and there will probably not be any dietary restrictions. However, you need to take extra care to not fall ill, as you will be more prone to suffer from a host of diseases because of the removed organ and suppressed immunity. Talk to your transplant team to understand your dietary needs. Follow these tips to take care of your kidney after transplantation. 

5 You Will Not Be Able To Conceive For Six Months after Donation

Pregnancy after the donation is possible but is usually not recommended for at least six months after the donation surgery. You could talk to your gynecologist and transplant team before getting pregnant and make sure you get good prenatal care. Generally, living kidney donors do well with pregnancy after their donation. However, some studies have shown small increases in some risks like gestational diabetes, pregnancy-induced hypertension, protein in the urine and pre-eclampsia. Ask your doctor to monitor for these potential complications.

6 You May Not Be Allowed To Perform Physical Exercises

Your doctor may ask you to avoid physical exercises to protect you from injury.  It is best to avoid contact sports like football, boxing, hockey, soccer, martial arts, or wrestling. That said, wearing protective gear such as padded vests underclothing can help protect the operated areas from injury during sports. While this can lessen the risks, take permission from your doctor before you participate in any contact sports. Generally, heavy lifting is not recommended for about six weeks following surgery.

After leaving the hospital, you may also feel some tenderness and pain in the incision.  It is important for you to speak with the transplant staff about the best ways to return as quickly as possible to being physically fit.