Preparing to be a Donor

It is illegal to pay for someone to be a living organ donor. However, The National Organ Transplant Act allows organ recipients or other organizations to help pay for their living donors’ travel, lodging, and lost wages in connection with the donation.

Coverage for Travel, Food, and Lodging

Each transplant center is variable in what services and resources it offers to prospective living donors related to travel expenses. For instance, for donors who are giving to a veteran at a VA hospital or Military Hospital, all the travel, lodging and food expenses are reimbursed or provided by the hospital. Additionally, these centers often require the donor bring a primary support person with them to the evaluation and surgery – so all costs related to travel for the support person are covered as well.

For donors who are giving to a veteran at a private center – this coverage is not usually available through the hospital. However, there are resources available through organizations such as DOVE, National Living Donor Assistance Center (NLDAC), The National Kidney Registry (NKR) that may provide financial assistance for travel-related expenses.

Coverage for Work Leave

Living kidney donation now specifically qualifies as a serious health condition under FMLA.

Federal Employees who are living organ donors are allowed 30 days of paid time leave as per the Organ Donor Leave Act (1999). If donor’s employers provide Short Term Disability – all prospective donors will qualify for this benefit for up to 3 months post-donation.

For those donors who do not have paid vacation or access to disability insurance, there are resources through DOVE, National Kidney Registry, National Living Donor Assistance Program and other community organizations that can assist.

Other resources, in addition to DOVE, that help fund logistical services to support a donor

National Living Donor Assistance Center
Can assist with lost wages, travel and other expenses. Must apply 6 weeks prior to when needed. If a donor participates in a paired exchange, there will be additional resources available through that program.

Alliance for Paired Kidney Donation

American Kidney Fund
Has up to $700 grant for assistance that can help cover non travel or medical expenses incurred as a result of donation such as child care assistance.