Predonation Direct and Indirect Costs Incurred by Adults Who Donated a Kidney: Findings From the KDOC Study

Am J Transplant. 2015 Sep;15(9):2387-93. doi: 10.1111/ajt.13286. Epub 2015 May 5.


Limited information exists on the predonation costs incurred by eventual living kidney donors (LKDs). Expenses related to completion of the donation evaluation were collected from 194 LKDs participating in the multi-center, prospective Kidney Donor Outcomes Cohort (KDOC) Study. Most LKDs (n = 187, 96%) reported one or more direct costs, including ground transportation (80%), healthcare (24%), lodging (17%) and air transportation (14%), totaling $101 484 (USD; mean = $523 ± 942). Excluding paid vacation or sick leave, donor and companion lost wages totaled $35 918 (mean = $187 ± 556) and $14 378 (mean = $76 ± 311), respectively. One-third of LKDs used paid vacation or sick leave to avoid incurring lost wages. Few LKDs reported receiving financial support from the transplant candidate (6%), transplant candidate's family (3%), a nonprofit organization (3%), the National Living Donor Assistance Center (7%), or transplant center (3%). Higher total costs were significantly associated with longer distance traveled to the transplant center (p < 0.001); however, total costs were not associated with age, sex, race/ethnicity, household income, marital status, insurance status, or transplant center. Moderate predonation direct and indirect costs are common for adults who complete the donation evaluation. Potential LKDs should be advised of these possible costs, and the transplant community should examine additional strategies to reimburse donors for them.

Keywords: allied health/nursing; clinical research/practice; donor nephrectomy; donors and donation: incentives; donors and donation: living; economics; kidney transplantation/nephrology; kidney transplantation: living donor.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Costs and Cost Analysis*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Expenditures / trends*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / surgery*
  • Kidney Transplantation / economics*
  • Living Donors*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nephrectomy / economics*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement / economics*
  • Young Adult