About Mercy

Frequently Asked Questions

Living Donor Questions

  • Will donating a kidney affect my ability to become pregnant or father a child?  There is no evidence suggesting kidney donation affects a donor’s ability to have children.  However, women should plan an adequate recovery period before they begin family planning.
  • Will donating a kidney shorten the donor’s life?  No. Studies have shown that donation does not change the donor’s life expectancy.
  • Will donating a kidney increase the donor’s risk for kidney disease?  The transplant team will carefully evaluate your risk for kidney disease to ensure that you will be healthy with one kidney.  It is important to monitor your health after donation and maintain a healthy lifestyle to prevent illnesses. 
  • Will I have to pay anything to donate my kidney? Living kidney donors do not have any out-of-pocket expenses for the donor evaluation, donation, surgery and any complications that relate to the kidney donation. The donor may/will have out-of-pocket expenses such as travel costs and lost wages for time off for the donation surgery and recovery.  The Transplant Social Worker can provide information about fund-raising and other resources available.

Transplant Recipient Questions

  • Will my insurance cover a transplant? The Transplant Financial Coordinator will contact your insurance provider to verify your coverage related to transplant and will discuss these findings with you during the evaluation interview.
  • Will I be able to pay for the transplant drugs? The Transplant Financial Coordinator will also talk to your insurance company regarding your out-of-pocket cost for medications.  We will discuss these findings during the evaluation interview.  It is important to remember that Medicare does have medication coverage and we will examine your individual insurance situation to let you know about your benefits.
  • Could I die during a kidney transplant? All surgical procedures have associated risks and benefits.  The transplant evaluation process is very important to help you and the transplant team determine if transplantation is the best treatment option for your end stage renal disease.  If your risk for transplantation is too high, the transplant committee will determine what/if anything you can do to lower that risk. We are very committed to helping you achieve your best quality of life possible and facilitate the longevity of all transplanted organs. 
  • Will I have to take a lot of medicine after transplant? After transplantation, anti-rejection medications will be prescribed to help the patient’s immune system maintain the new organ. There are several medications that help create a balance in the body.  Most patient’s find that taking medications on a planned schedule is far easier than being on dialysis therapy.  A patient must take the medication as directed for the transplanted organ to work.
  • Do patients with a kidney transplant live longer than patients on dialysis? Studies have shown that patient’s live longer with a kidney transplant when compared to patient’s that elect to stay on dialysis therapy. 
  • Does dialysis work as well as a functioning kidney? Dialysis therapy does less than half the work of a functioning kidney.  The transplanted kidney filters the patient’s body constantly which is more natural. 
  • How long does a transplanted kidney work? The average living donor kidney transplant will last between 15-20 years depending on specific circumstances. A deceased donor kidney transplant is typically lasts between 10-15 years.  We encourage patients to talk to their family about the option of living kidney donation and allow the living kidney donor coordinator to call potential donors about this option.
  • Am I too old for a kidney transplant? Each patient is individually evaluated based on past medical history, physical assessment, laboratory and diagnostic test results.  Age is taken into consideration as it is a part of your medical history but it is only one factor.  Again, each patient is given a risk determination for transplantation during the transplant evaluation.
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Des Moines, Iowa 50314

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