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Understanding the Process: Donor Advocate and Informed Consent
Each potential donor will work with a donor advocate throughout the evaluation process. The role of the donor advocate is to:
- Represent and advise the donor
- Protect and promote the interests of the donor
- Respect the donor's decisions
- Ensure that the donor's decision is informed and free from coercion
The donor advocate will ensure that the donor understands all information provided including:
- Informed consent
- Evaluation process
- Surgical procedure
- Need for post-donation follow-up six months, one year and two years following donation
The goal of the informed consent process is to help donors understand the donation process including:
- Medical and psychosocial risks and benefits
- Expected transplant outcomes
- Alternative treatments available to the recipient
- Right to stop or delay the donation process at any time
- Assurance that their information will remain confidential
Programs to Assist Potential Living Donors
Some transplant centers offer special programs for living donors who hope to donate or have donated in the past. These programs are designed not only to assist the living donor during their preparation to donate, but also to maintain the long-term health and well-being of the donor. Examples of these programs include weight loss, smoking cessation, and blood pressure follow-up.
At Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian, we offer a weight loss program geared towards potential donors who need to lose weight prior to being considered as a donor. This is provided as a free service to our potential donors. If a potential living donor is highly motivated to donate but needs to lose weight in order to safely donate, our program can guide them during this process.
For potential living donors, being a smoker excludes one from donating at some centers. Other transplant centers allow donation to move forward, but highly encourage the donor to stop smoking at least 4 weeks prior to the surgery.
For potential donors who are motivated to quit smoking, transplant centers can provide assistance with this process.
Visit the New York State Smokers' Quitline Web site at www.nysmokefree.com