Becoming a Donor
Utah is unique in our partnership with Intermountain Donor Services. Operating under a federal grant, a donor registry has been set up in Utah and Idaho. Although your registration is legal consent for donation, it is advisable to talk to your family about your wishes. This conversation will give them comfort and a positive direction should this become reality. Links to the donor registries:
There are many opportunities for people who wish to donate organs or tissues. There are not absolute age limits to organ donation. Medical evaluation of the the potential donor is assessed at the time of death to determine organs which may be recovered, and organ donation is never discussed until this point. Whether or not you are an organ donor has no impact on the level of care you receive while in the hospital. Do not rule yourself out as a potential donor, as many donations are feasible despite certain medical conditions and age. You are never too old to be considered.
Becoming a Living Donor
Approximately 60 percent of kidney transplants performed at Intermountain Medical Center are from living donors including family members, friends, co-workers, or Good Samaritans, who have no relation to or affiliation with a kidney transplant recipient. Surgical techniques have become less invasive and immunosuppressive medications more effective in preventing rejection, allowing for more successful living kidney donor transplants. We encourage living donation whenever possible for several reasons:
- Shorter waiting time for recipient – The surgery is scheduled once the recipient and donor are determined to be suitable for transplant.
- Timing of transplant – The transplant may be able to take place just before the recipient requires dialysis, possibly avoiding placement of a fistula or dialysis access.
- Shorter waiting list – Use of living donors reduces the number of people on the deceased donor list who may not have a living donor available to them.
- Less invasive procedure – Laparoscopic surgery to remove the kidney has made kidney donation more appealing to the donor.
- Greater patient and graft survival rates — Recipients who receive a living versus a cadaveric kidney statistically have longer graft survival.
Who can donate?
Donors can be family members, spouses, friends, co-workers and even complete strangers who may offer to donate a kidney to a stranger in need:
- The donor must be over 18. Age 60 or so is the upper age range — this depends on kidney function testing.
- Must be a willing donor — no payment for donation is allowed.
- Must be healthy – no history of diabetes, hypertension (may not be on blood pressure medication), no history of recent or recurrent kidney stones or multiple kidney infections, no history of cancer, weight must be below a body mass index (BMI) of 32.
- Must be psychologically stable, able to make sound decisions, and demonstrate understanding of risks and benefits of donation.
If you're interested in becoming a living kidney donor, please complete the online screening form.
Kidney Paired Donation
Qualified donors may not always match his or her intended recipient. This may either be because they do not have a compatible blood type or the recipient has developed antibodies against them. Kidney Paired Donation programs facilitate swapping of kidneys. Both the donor and recipient are entered into a nationwide exchange program in hopes of finding a qualified donor for the recipient and a recipient the paired donor is compatible to. These are coordinated to happen on the same chain, usually with both surgeries completed on the same day.
Good Samaritan Donation
Intermountain Medical Center is one of the leaders in the country in the number of Good Samaritan kidney donor surgeries that we have performed. When sign up as an organ donor on the donor registry, you can check a box to receive more information about being a living kidney donor. Then a coordinator from Intermountain Donor Services will call you to complete a brief telephone interview. An information packet will also be sent to your home.
Blood & Marrow Donation