This depends upon where your surgery takes place. Some hospitals look after both adults and children whilst others are exclusively for children. Wherever you are, there will be a team of people caring for each of you. The donor assessment and operation will always be performed in an adult transplant centre. This will be nearby if you and your child are cared for in separate hospitals.
As a kidney donor you will need time to recover from the immediate effects of the surgery. This is dependent upon the type of operation you have and your individual recovery. You should be able to leave hospital between four to ten days. You will be anxious to see your child but it is also important that you rest as much as possible in the first few days to help your recovery. The staff in the transplant centres will help you stay in touch by telephone and will keep you fully informed of your child's progress. Family members and friends will be able to visit both of you. If you are in separate hospitals, you will be able to see your child once you have been discharged home.
The staff caring for both you and your child realise how important it is that contact is maintained. They will do their best to keep you and your child informed of each other’s progress.
You will need to plan for the care of your child whilst you are in hospital well in advance and staff can help you to do this. In some families the non-donating parent stays with the child but a grandparent, aunt, uncle, or close family friend may be nominated instead. Whoever it is, it needs to be someone both you and your child feel comfortable with and who understands what is involved in being with your child in hospital. You can speak to your child's doctor or nurse about this and they will be able to give you more information to help you decide. It is important to make childcare arrangements for any other children you may have and for some help at home immediately after you leave hospital. There are people who may be able to help you with this and any other practical concerns you may have.
Recovery can take between two to twelve weeks, depending upon the donor operation and your individual progress. You will need to rest following discharge from hospital. You will need help caring for your child and with day-to-day domestic tasks.
This insert is available in English and bilingual versions which should be read in conjunction with the “Could I be a living kidney donor?” leaflet.