Where do deceased donor kidneys come from?
Kidney donors can be anyone (a child or an adult) whose brain has been so damaged by injury or disease that the brain dies, even with the best medical care. When someone has reached this stage, it is called being “brain dead”. The donor might have been injured in a car accident or a fall or by downing, for instance, or they might have had a brain tumor or other serious medical condition affecting their brain. Although the donor is no longer alive, their major organs can be saved for a short time with medications and machines so that they can be removed and transplanted into someone else.
There is also a circumstance known as a (DCD) donor (Donation after Circulatory Death). This term refers to a donor who has suffered devastating and irreversible brain injury and may be near death but is not considered “brain dead” by the formal medical definition of brain death. In this circumstance, the family may decide to withdraw life support. When life support is withdrawn and the heart stops beating, the organs are then recovered in the operating room.
You and your child may have a lot of questions about the donor, but please bear in mind that this informations always confidential. The members of the transplant team only know the information they need to carry out the transplant safely. For example, they can not tell you the kidney donor’s name or where they lived. It is important to respect the privacy of the donor family’s choice when they donate the kidney for your child.