The donation process starts with you. Once you have made the decision to be a living donor, the process begins.
Phase 1 involves simple, preliminary tests to make sure you are informed about kidney donations & are fit to do so.
The second phase of tests include consultation appointments to assess your eligibility for the surgery.
Once the evaluations are complete , the team will start to discuss the timing of your surgery.
The donation process all begins with a self-referral. Once you have made the decision, you will need to access and complete a consent form as well as a Medical, Social and Travel (MST) questionnaire by following the instructions on our Getting Started page. Once your file is created, you will do an intake interview to answer a few additional questions. A Registered Nurse will do a final review of the information before you are eligible to move on to Phase 1.
Initial Blood and Urine tests
We will ask for preliminary blood and urine tests to determine your medical suitability.
These tests include chest x-ray and an electrocardiogram which can both be done in one visit to save time.
You will be invited to attend or view an education session that will provide more details about the evaluation process and help you make an informed decision about kidney donation
We Will Ask for Help From Your Family Doctor
A letter will be sent requesting information about your health history and/or results from previous testing. We will also request that your cancer screening is up-to-date.
Blood Type and Cross Match Testing
If you and your recipient are not compatible you can still help by considering participation in the Kidney Paired Donation Program. If you decide to proceed in the Kidney Paired Donation Program, we will arrange for your Phase 2 testing.
The remainder of the tests will be booked at The Ottawa Hospital by the Living Donor Program. Though this may seem like a lot of appointments, it is important that each donor has a full assessment of their health to be sure they are suitable for kidney donation. We will make every effort to minimize the number of trips you need to make to your appointments.
A renal scan will be done to indicate the percentage of kidney function in each of the kidneys. You do not need to be fasting for this and the test typically takes 1 hour. This test is done in the nuclear medicine department. You must drink 500 mLs (2 big glasses) of water 30 minutes prior to this appointment and you may pee as you normally would. The amount of radioactivity used for this test is quite small and will disappear by itself soon after the scan is finished. Most of the radioactivity disappears within one day and any remaining traces disappear within 48 hours. The amount of radiation is similar to that from an x-ray examination. No special precautions are needed after the scan. For more information on the renal scan, click here
A CT scan will provide important information regarding the kidney anatomy. This test will allow the surgeon to determine which kidney to remove and surgical technique. This test takes about 30 minutes to complete. You need to make sure to drink at least 8 glasses of water in the 24 hours prior to the test and you may pee normally as you normally would. For more information please feel free to visit this page
The social worker meets with you to do a psychosocial assessment. The social worker will make sure that a potential donor has all the information to make an informed choice that is not influenced by guilt, obligation, coercion, or money.
The Transplant surgeon will review with you the results of the renal and CT scan in order to determine if you are a surgical candidate for kidney donation. The surgeon will do a physical exam and tell you about the surgical process and the risks involved.
A donor nephrologist is a kidney specialist. The nephrologist will tell you about the risks and benefits of being a kidney donor. They will act as your advocate and make sure that kidney donation does not put you at risk for serious health concerns. This appointment will involve a health history and physical exam .
Approved for Living Donation
Once all of the evaluations are complete and you are approved as a kidney donor, we will discuss appropriate timing of the surgery. The surgery date will depend on the recipient's needs, your availability and the operating room schedule. If the surgery does not take place within one year of the evaluations then some of the tests will need to be repeated. Your coordinator will provide you with further instructions.
Before your operation, you must complete a few meetings to ensure that you are prepared for the surgery. A Pre-Admission Unit appointment will be conducted through 3 phone calls with the Anesthetist, nurse and pharmacist. Blood tests will be required 10 days and 48 hours prior to your donation date.
Chantal, one of our nurse donor coordinators
Once you have been approved, if you have not proceeded to donate within 1 year of completion of your initial tests there are some tests that will need to be repeated. These include:
Nephrology consult (every 2 years)
Visit with the coordinator to obtain blood pressure, height and weight
Program for Reimbursing Expenses for Living Organ Donors
As a potential living kidney donor, you may be eligible for PRELOD.
PRELOD provides reimbursement to living organ donors and potential living organ donors for eligible out-of-pocket expenses and lost income during the assessment and surgery periods of the organ donation process.
Anyone who donates or intends to donate an organ or part of an organ to an Ontario resident covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) may apply for PRELOD. Both kidney donors and liver donors are eligible to apply.
Find more information about PRELOD in the document below.
Please note that like Ontario, all provinces have reimbursement programs.
Ontario residents who donate an organ to a recipient from another province are not eligible for PRELOD. Please contact the living donation program where you donated your organ to learn about living donor reimbursement programs available across Canada. If you intended to donate an organ to an Ontario resident but through Paired Exchange you donated an organ to a resident outside of Ontario, contact the PRELOD Coordinator to determine your eligibility, 1-888-977-3563 or PRELOD@giftoflife.on.ca.