Organ donation is a complicated issue, especially when it comes to logistics and wait lists. Sometimes there aren’t just enough organs; often a recipient just doesn’t get a match. Sadly, many people who need organs don’t get them.
Over 100,000 people, for example, are on the waitlist for kidneys. Those waiting for kidneys are often at end-stage renal failure, and face two choices: transplant, or a lifetime of dialysis — which means being hooked up to a machine in such a way that compromises greatly quality of life and shortens a lifespan.
Dialysis sessions last up to four hours, three times a week, which often makes work or travel nearly impossible. The process is also physically grueling, compromising quality of life.
A transplant, however, allows recipients to gain about a decade of life. But many are waiting for organs to become available — a slow and often uncertain process, since organ donors aren’t plentiful and relatives willing to donate might not be a match.
But those waiting for kidneys have hope. More healthy people are willingly giving up kidneys, even to strangers. They are willing to go through the discomfort of testing, screening, surgery and recovery to give others the gift of life.
Vox writer Dylan Matthews decided to donate a kidney after much thought and preparation. Watch the video to follow his journey from start to finish, and see why he called it “the most rewarding experience of his life”…