Financial costs Incurred by Living Kidney donors: A Report

3 min read

A living-donor transplant is a surgery that removes an organ or part of an organ from a living person. Then it places it in another person whose organ isn’t working well.

In recent years, it has become very popular. More than 6,000 people in the United States report donating their living organs every year. This is due to the growing need for organs for transplantation and a lack of deceased-donor organs. Living kidney donation has certainly become the most common type of living donor transplant. People can give one of their kidneys, and their one kidney can still do the job. Living donors can also give part of their liver, and the rest of their liver regenerates, grows back to almost its original size, and does its job.

If you have a kidney or liver that needs to be transplanted, you can be a living donor. You can also be a living donor for tissue transplantation, like skin or bone marrow that has been damaged or destroyed by the disease.

Living donors provide around 40% of all kidney transplants worldwide. Despite the benefits of living donor transplants, rates have remained stable in recent years. One potential impediment could be the financial costs of the transplant process, which potential willing donors may incur for travel, parking, lodging, and lost productivity. 

What Did the Report Say?

End-stage kidney disease (ESKD) is becoming more common worldwide, and transplantation is still the best way to treat it. Living kidney donation is thought to be safe from a medical point of view, but many donors have to pay a lot of money for the process. A kidney transplant from a living donor can help recipients avoid the long wait for organs from deceased donors. Many recipients gain more than 10 years of life expectancy as a result. In addition, each person who has a kidney transplant instead of having dialysis saves the healthcare system about $100,000 per year. 

Current estimates say that more than 90% of donors have to pay for things, including travel costs to and from the evaluation center and other costs that aren’t directly related to the donation (e.g., lost income for time off work to heal from donation). One-third of living kidney donors paid more than $CAD3,000 in out-of-pocket costs, and 15% of donors paid more than $CAD8,000. This is based on a recent study in Canada. Many governments have set up reimbursement programs for living kidney donors. So they don’t have to pay for things that go along with giving a kidney. 

Prospective Cohort Study on Living Kidney Donors

To better understand and measure the financial costs that living kidney donors incur, Unbound Medicine did a “prospective cohort study.” They recruited 912 living kidney donors from twelve transplant centers all over Canada between 2009 and 2014. 821 of them filled out all or part of the costing survey. Living kidney donors who have been evaluated show how much they will pay in total. How much will they have to pay out of their pocket? And how much they will have to give up for three months after the donation. When we looked at the costs, we looked at the donor’s relationship with their recipient. It could be spousal (gift to a partner), emotionally related non-spousal (friend, stepparent, or in-law), or genetically related (directed, paired kidney, or non-directed).

What was the Result?

They paid $1254 out of their pocket and lost no time at work. The median (75th percentile) was $2589. A spousal donor’s costs were $2226 more than the costs of an emotionally connected non-spousal donor. A directed donor’s costs were $1664 more than those of a non-directed donor. Out-of-pocket and lost productivity costs more than $5500 for 205 (25%) donors.

These findings can help people come up with ways to cut down on the costs of living donation, which could improve the donor experience and increase the number of living donor kidney transplants. 

Wrapping the Post

Donors have to pay for a lot of things when they give their kidneys away. In fact, the total kidney transplant cost in India probably more than people thought. To make sure that informed consent and fair reimbursement policies are followed, you need to ensure that you have more information on all costs from a detailed prospective multi-center cohort study.