Having a partner with kidney failure is definitely one of life’s difficult times. When I agreed to be a living kidney donor for my husband, I assumed we would not be a match but would be part of the kidney donation swap programs to help reduce his wait time for a transplant and decrease his time on dialysis. Because life has its ups along with its downs we beat the bad news with the realization that we were a perfect match! Chalk it up to the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon or Synchronicity but I have found more and more stories about spouses donating to each other, mostly wives to husbands. It is cool to hear similar stories of hope and success.
So, here is what I went through to be a match.
Neither my husband nor myself knew our blood types at the time we got the news that a transplant was needed. Coordinating blood types is the first indicator as to whether or not two people are a match. There are four major blood types. These types are A, B, AB and O. The positive or negative feature in blood typing is not a factor when determining compatibility between a donor and a recipient.
Blood type for Donors:
O donates to All 4 – A,B,AB & O
A donates to A and AB
B donates to B & AB
AB donates to AB
Blood type for Recipients:
O receives from O
A receives from A or O
B receives from B or O
A receives from All 4 (A,B,AB & O)
I am an O And my husband is an A so we had a good start. We then had to give copious amounts of blood for genetic match testing. There are a lot of tests and I don’t know them all. Because a recipient has to be concerned with rejecting the new kidney, some of the tests determine whether or not the donor and recipient have similar antibodies. If the recipient has developed immunities to certain diseases and illnesses that the donor does not have, the recipient may have to get immunizations to give their bodies a chance to build up similar antibodies. This will help with preventing rejection of the new kidney.
We were shown some numbers from the blood work and were excited about the results. There were two significant match tests that we had done. One was measured with “anything under 35 indicates a match”. Our number was . . . zero. . . an absolute perfect match! The other relevant test said “anything under 73 indicates a match”. . . again, we were a zero. . . perfect!
Once our blood tests were approved, there were a series of tests for me to complete. These are important to prove that the donor is healthy enough for surgery and to live with one kidney. (Most people are)
- 24 hour urine collection
- chest x-ray
- more bloodwork for HIV, Hepatitis B & C, kidney function, liver function, anemia and more viruses
- more urinalysis
- complete physical exam
- psychosocial assessment is conducted by a social worker
- more blood work
- CT Scan of kidneys and urinary tract
- dental exam to confirm no decomposition or infection
- more blood work to confirm the results from the previous blood work
Note: You are “High Risk” and may not be able to donate if you have:
- ever been in any jail for longer than 48 hours
- had risky or unprotected sex
- used intravenous drugs
- done any other hazardous things that could cause infections or antibodies
Then you go to the hospital transplant center for about 5 hours on a day to “Meet the Team” to be educated about the surgery, meet the surgeon, and do more tests. You will meet with a social worker, a donor advocate and a dietician. You will be questioned MANY times to make sure that you are not being coerced or forced to donate. You will be assured, reassured and then reassured some more that at any moment up to the time of going under the anesthesiology, that you can change your mind and not go through with the procedure no questions asked.
You also can not be paid or compensated in any way for donating. (although my friends think I should receive a kidney shaped diamond pendant from my husband- lol) You will also be assured that donors are never charged medical bills for donating! You may also be required to do more tests (although I did not) such as glucose tolerance, stress test and more.
After losing all modesty and all privacy. . . after being poked and prodded, injected and drained. . . it is time to sit and wait. All of the results are presented to the board and approved. (We have done this too).
Then, we waited for out medical insurance company to decide what they will and will not cover before we were allowed to schedule the surgery.But we will have a date soon!
- Being the Perfect Match for Donating a Kidney
- MORE About Being a Living Kidney Donor
- What it was like to Meet the Kidney Transplant Team
- What is IGA Nephopathy and why does it kill your kidneys
- Post Kidney Transplant – What is the BK Virus?
Thanks for sharing your journey and all the information about living kidney donation. What a wonderful thing to do for the one you love, it is the gift of life. I wish you and your husband all the best. As your date creeps closer, I will be thinking about you both. Here’s to flawless procedures and speedy recoveries!
Robin (Masshole Mommy)
I loved reading this post SO much. How amazing that you were able to do this for your husband. What a wonderful gift.
Elizabeth @ Being MVP
You are giving him such a great gift! Yes I believe a diamond kidney pendant is appropriate 😉 j/k. I hope you have a successful surgery and speedy recovery!
Thank you for sharing your story. I am praying for you and your family and wishing you and your husband both a quick recovery after surgery.
Wow, right around the corner… Thank you for sharing your story so far. I will keep you both in my thoughts and prayers for a good surgery and speedy recovery!
Good luck on September 24th. I look forward to hearing that everything went smoothly! You are so awesome for not only doing this, but also for sharing your experience. A good friend of mine had a kidney donation from her dad that did not take; but then a second donation and she is doing great now. It makes a HUGE difference. Hugs!!
You.are.awesome. I’m so happy for you both, and what a blessing you’re a match. It’s so interesting that if you have been in jail more than 48 hours, you can’t donate. Do you know why?
I think it is a match made in heaven that you can help him! What a beautiful, selfless person inside and out to help him.
What a miracle that you were a match and are able to help your husband! I’m o and my husband is O so that is at least one barrier out of the way if either of us ever is in need of a kidney donation.
Thank you!! And yes, it is a newer rule, but it comes from research showing that being jailed puts a person at higher risk for things like TB and HepB among other diseases that would cause a person to be unable to donate a healthy kidney.
I just love hearing the success stories! Thank you for the HUGS!
Thank you Andrew for the speedy recovery wishes and your support!
I think it is amazing too. . . some things just work out for the best!
Thanks for being on my side about the pendant! LOL and for the well wishes.
Your prayers mean so much to me!! Thank you.
I know! Some days it seems like a long process and other days it feels so close! Thanks for your thoughts and prayers!
You are too sweet!! Truly, it is something that every person would do to help someone they love!
I believe it is a bit of a miracle too! Also, I learned in this process that O blood is always needed at blood drives 😉
Ben @ Cheap is the New Classy
What a great post. That’s so cool that you were able to give one of your kidneys to your husband.
How lucky is it that you were a viable match for your husband! Great post. I hope all remains well.
What an amazing story. Your husband is so lucky you two were matches!
This is so interesting. I had no idea about all that is involved. How exciting that you have a date!!!
My girlfriend donated a kidney to her grandfather. She has to live with some lifestyle changes, today, but the great sum of the experience was great for her and her family. Thanks for the deeper insight to the process.
Wow, that is absolutely amazing that you were a perfect match! I’m O- blood so they are always asking for my blood donations. 🙂 When I’m finally done with pregnancy and nursing I’ll be happy to start donating more regularly.
It’s wonderful that you were such a perfect match! I think you deserve a kidney shaped diamond pendant too, haha.
Mama to 5 BLessings
wow! That is a lot! I am so sorry you are having to go through all this. Please keep us posted on your progress here and on FB. I will pray for you.
Wow I never knew there was so much involved. I have a friend who is looking for a donor right now but I never asked many questions.
A Mom Having Fun
It is wonderful that you can go through this to be there for your husband.
Thats truly the most awesome thing I have ever heard that you and your husband were a perfect match. But you already knew that!
That is so wonderful you were able to do this for him. Meant to be in so many ways!
wow, what an amazing story. You are doing something so wonderful and I wish the both of you the best of luck and a speedy recovery.
Tammi @ My Organized Chaos
Oh wow, what great info! Thank you for sharing your story and I’m wishing you and your husband both a quick recovery after surgery.
I know it is hard for donors but I think them testing so much is so nice to see. They are doing everything they can to ensure it will work, and be a good match. How good to see their is a date set, I will be praying for the surgery!!
i will pray for both of you- and the staff- as your date draws near. what an amazing gift you are able to give your husband!!
valmg @ Mom Knows It All
How terrific that you can and will do this for him! I a person has had a blood transfusion can they donate?
Organ donation is such an important topic. Thank you so much for sharing your journey. You are inspiring people.
I am in the process of being screened to be a kidney donor for a friend. Glad to see that someone else is breezing through the process too!
WOW! That is so nice of you! There are some groups on facebook for donors to talk to each other. If you want me to add you let me know! It helps to have some support during the process 🙂
The Perfect Match – Our Kidney Transplant Story | jenny at dapperhouse
[…] (Read more about what it takes to be a living kidney donor) […]
Getting started on the process of giving my husband his second transplant. He received the first from his sister and it lasted 8 1/2 years….not long enough! He is the perfect patient too. Never missed his dr. appointments or meds. Oh well…. I really appreciate your info, even though we are going thru this for the second time, it is comforting to hear your story. And read updated info. I hope all is still going well for you and your husband. It’s a crazy journey that never is boring….that’s for sure!!!
Hi Lori. Thank you for your feedback! My husband is being a really good patient as well, about taking his meds, totally changed his diet and lifestyle… it is important to make that kidney last 🙂 It must be crazy to be going through it all again… I cant imagine but I know we will face that soon enough. I am thinking of you and have confidence that it will go well for your husband.
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