submitted 9 months ago by [email protected] to c/nostupidquestions

I've had an organ donor card in my wallet for as long as I can remember and I've always made it very clear to my loved ones that I want all my organs to be used when I die.

My question is, given that I only need one kidney, would it be better if I were to donate the other one right away rather than after my inevitable demise?

Obviously, my organs won't be used in the unlikely event that I die in some unrecoverable way, like being lost at sea or something. And there's always the possibility that a close relative might need a kidney at some point, so I should arguably save it for them.

Is there some other reason to do it now?

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[-] [email protected] 120 points 9 months ago

You’ve got 2 kidneys. You generously give one to someone in need.

You have 1 kidney. You now have a single point of failure, where you had redundancy before.

IT guy here, just in case that might have gibt unnoticed.

[-] [email protected] 15 points 9 months ago

ah, but[^1] if you donate a kidney you go to the top of the queue

you're losing one when you don't need one, and receiving one when you do

insurance salesman here[^2], just in case that might have gibt unnoticed

[^1]: to the best of my knowledge

[^2]: obviously not

[-] Oaksey 12 points 9 months ago

But it won’t be your own kidney and you will have to take drugs to try and stop your body rejecting it.

[-] [email protected] 4 points 9 months ago

Source? When they proposed to do this for blood donors, it got shut down in a hurry.

[-] [email protected] 3 points 9 months ago* (last edited 9 months ago)

of course they do: they've only got one kidney, so it's more important for them to get a replacement quickly

alright, i was being facetious. a cursory search [says(https://healthmanagement.org/c/icu/news/organ-donors-who-need-kidneys-go-to-top-of-transplant-list) this, but it's the states only, and i have no idea if it's true or not. i imagine not, but i don't know

[-] [email protected] 2 points 9 months ago

If you read the articles you linked, you’ll notice some specifically fishy language. Neither one says that donors are promised first dibs, only that they often get it. If it’s not written down, you have nothing if they decide to do it differently.

[-] [email protected] 0 points 9 months ago

i know. like i said, i don't believe it

^i^ ^was^ ^just^ ^trying^ ^to^ ^be^ ^funny^ ^:^ ^(^

[-] poplargrove 2 points 9 months ago

I'm guessing you didn't manually insert those footnotes, how did you?

[-] [email protected] 1 points 9 months ago

lemmy supports two footnote formats

the basic type like so:

comment body here[^1]

[^1]: and the footnote at the very bottom of the comment

or the easy to write type

comment body here^[and the inline footnote]

(note the different locations for the caret)

keep in mind that they don't work on most apps, and some frontends

[-] poplargrove 2 points 9 months ago

Very cool, thanks for sharing!

[-] [email protected] 0 points 9 months ago

no worries, here's the actual documentation. apparently there's a third syntax that i never use as well

[-] [email protected] 8 points 9 months ago

You now have a single point of failure, where you had redundancy before.

On the plus side, someone else gets to continue existing.

Or from the IT perspective: I have two important servers, one has a single drive, the other has RAID mirroring. The drive in the first server fails. I could take a drive out of the server with RAID and have two functional servers or I could keep the second one running on its RAID and have a server with redundancy (that hopefully/might not be needed).

(I'm not going out and donating a kidney though, guess we can say it's because I'm selfish.)

[-] [email protected] 2 points 9 months ago

But as OP points out, someone will get that kidney eventually anyway. So the difference is that a different someone else gets to continue existing.

[-] [email protected] 4 points 9 months ago

But as OP points out, someone will get that kidney eventually anyway.

OP erroneously thought that but it's not actually correct. The conditions where someone dies but their kidney is viable for a transplant are rare.

[-] [email protected] 1 points 9 months ago

Unless you're running RAID 0 (stripe), then you'd lose everything by pulling one of the drives.

[-] [email protected] 8 points 9 months ago

I don't recommend using RAID 0 for kidneys.

[-] Archpawn 1 points 9 months ago

Counterpoint: If you're an IT guy, you're probably making enough money that you can donate mosquito nets and save tons of lives, and it's not worth risking all that to save one more.

[-] Archpawn 1 points 9 months ago

Nobody donates kidneys, because then they'll be left with one kidney and die if something goes wrong. They'll die if something goes wrong because they won't be able to get a kidney, since nobody donates kidneys. It's a self-perpetuating cycle.

[-] [email protected] 42 points 9 months ago

It's actually quite rare for organs to be able to be donated upon death. The donor needs to either be brain dead but clinically alive, or otherwise the organs need to be harvested very rapidly following death or else they will deteriorate past the point of being viable for donation. So, donating a kidney now would ensure it goes to a person in need, whereas being a registered organ donor and hoping the circumstances of your death will facilitate organ donation will give them about a 1% chance of going to someone.

[-] [email protected] 10 points 9 months ago

If someone donates a kidney to a stranger and later on something happens and they need a kidney transplant themselves, do they get a bump up the waiting list? I can see an argument for either side.

[-] [email protected] 11 points 9 months ago

Nothing said about it either way here but it does state that the risk of later developing kidney disease for living donors is only around 1 in 200, because they're screened for having healthy kidneys. And not all of those who do will require a kidney transplant. So, very low risk eventuality.

I think the waiting list is as much about finding a match as waiting in line? I'd imagine a living donor who themselves needed a donor would have a better chance than most of finding a stranger willing to donate to them. It's the kind of story that tends to hit local, and sometimes national, news. And with many 'stranger' living donors coming forward, it would probably identify many other suitable matches as a result. So, at least you'd get the chance to save many more lives if you were one of the unlucky ones.

[-] [email protected] 5 points 9 months ago

That’s a really good point. Thanks for the answer!

[-] [email protected] 3 points 9 months ago

They don't. The most important consideration is will the person take care of the donated organ and will the donation have an impact.

[-] [email protected] 4 points 9 months ago* (last edited 9 months ago)

To be clear, kidneys need steady and high blood pressure to continue functioning. So let's say you have a heart attack, then your able to recover circulation but your brain was hypoxic and you're later shown to be brain dead. In that case there's also a high chance to be in some state of kidney failure and needing dialysis.

[-] HeyThisIsntTheYMCA 19 points 9 months ago

I mean, I only get 65% normal function out of both kidneys pumping at full capacity so giving away one would likely put me down to 33% which is in the "you need dialysis every week if not more often" range. Don't set yourself on fire just because you think you might help someone out for a few years.

[-] [email protected] 14 points 9 months ago

Organs aren’t like blood. They can’t be stored until needed. It probably wouldn’t be ethical to arrange the surgery without already being matched to a recipient.

[-] [email protected] 10 points 9 months ago

Not a direct answer, but if you’d like to do something now to help someone while you’re still alive (and you’re under 30) you could sign up for bone marrow donation. And of course, give blood as often as you can. Regular blood donors are straight up angels.

[-] [email protected] 5 points 9 months ago

Indeed! I do donate blood on the regular, so thank you.

And if anyone reading this is in the UK and would like to also donate blood, you can sign up to do so at the wonderfully named website, blood.co.uk. They will also occasionally send you unintentionally(?) hilarious and sinister messages like, 'The need for blood is rising'.

[-] [email protected] 4 points 9 months ago

Good for you! My grandad had some rare blood type that was good for newborn babies (I’m a bit hazy on the details, he’s long dead now) and he gave blood as often as he could as soon as he found out. My mum told me he was a superhero who saved poorly babies when I was a kid and I believed her wholeheartedly!

[-] [email protected] 10 points 9 months ago

If you live to a ripe old age your 80+ year old kidney probably won't be viable for transplant.

[-] [email protected] 9 points 9 months ago

A kidney donated from a living donor often lasts longer and performs better than a kidney from a deceased donor. Donating a kidney to a stranger can begin a paired donation chain that can result in several people getting kidneys. If you are seriously thinking about donating, I strongly encourage you to do some research with reputable sources, talk to some people who’ve donated themselves, talk it over with your loved ones, and maybe talk to some transplant coordinators at the nearest transplant center. It’s not something to be undertaken lightly, but living donors are saints.

[-] [email protected] 2 points 9 months ago

Thanks for the links! I wasn't thinking about it all that seriously (this post is the first time I've mentioned it to anyone) but it's interesting to know that it could do a lot more good than my previous plan of just... waiting till I die.

[-] [email protected] 7 points 9 months ago

As far as I can see having only one kidney means you have to take good care of yourself.

Watch what you eat, exercise a lot things like that.

There don't seem to be any major risk. But some people report issues.

It is important to be aware that, although risks across the board are generally very low, every individual is different and it is possible for other uncommon complications to occur. For example, although rare, on-going fatigue and persistent pain have been reported by small numbers of the thousands of living donors.

this post was submitted on 25 Aug 2023
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