• Shruti GOCHHWAL

The Side Effects of Kidney Donation

Your kidneys can not only save one’s life but also give them 12-15 years of life. But do you know about the various side effects of kidney donation? This article tells you about the short term and long term effects of kidney donation.

What Are The Side Effects of Kidney Donation?

There are several factors your doctor or transplant surgeon may consider while transplanting your kidney. Several risk factors like tissue compatibility, blood type, age and other health conditions are carefully evaluated through various lab tests, physical and psychological evaluation to ensure that the candidate is healthy enough to donate.

The amount of research conducted on the risks of kidney donation is very limited. However, most of the research studies have suggested that you can live a normal, and healthy life with just your one kidney.

Short-Term Changes You May Observe after Your Kidney Donation

1.   Compensatory growth

Kidney donation can cause compensatory growth

Kidney donation can cause compensatory growth, Credits: pixabay


After your kidney donation, within 10-11 days you may observe compensatory growth in your remaining kidney. This may also be the reason for your weight gain after kidney donation.

This means your single normal kidney will increase in capacity to compensate for the other one.

Studies also suggest that your kidney function may return to 70% within 10-11 days. The scar of the operation will remain and will depend on the type of operation you have.

Long term risk of kidney donation include:

1.   High blood pressure

Blood pressure check

Doctor checking for blood pressure, Credits: pixabay


People who donate a kidney observe a rise in blood pressure after several years. This results due to physiological alterations like hyperfiltration in the kidney, which upregulates the release of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone, causing an increase in the blood pressure due to changes in vascular tone.

2.   Pregnancy complications

Pregnancy Consultation

Pregnancy Consultation, Credits: pixabay


You may consider pregnancy a reason to not donate your kidney. This is because women who have donated their kidney and became pregnant may face the risk for gestational hypertension, gestational diabetes, higher risk for preeclampsia, and even fetal loss. If you are planning on having children, make sure you discuss this with your transplant team.

3.   Proteinuria

Kidney disease

Kidney disease due to proteinuria, Credits: pixabay


Proteinuria characterized by abnormal quantities of protein in the urine is a common condition following kidney donation. Proteinuria accompanied by high blood pressure in an individual is an indicator of declining kidney function. If not addressed may lead to end-stage renal disease (ESRD).

  1. Some donors have reported long-term problems with pain, hernia, nerve damage, or intestinal obstruction.

4.   Financial risks

Financial risks due to Kidney disease

Financial risks due to Kidney disease, Credits: pixabay


Some donors face problems with their health insurance or face higher premiums for life insurance. In such cases, your transplant centre may help you by informing the insurance carrier of existing data that you are not at an increased risk of death because of donation.

5.   Kidney Donation Cost

Kidney donation cost

Health Insurance and kidney donation cost, Credits: pixabay


You don’t have to pay anything for donating your kidney. The recipient’s transplant insurance will cover your general expenses as a donor. However, you may need to pay for follow-up tests or medical appointments.

Choosing to donate your kidney or any of your organs is an act of generosity which can save lives. Be sure that your decision doesn’t put your health at risk.

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