Kidney Donation
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Recovery time for donor??

I am altruistically donating on 10/23 and I'm wondering how long recovery takes if everything goes well. I don't know anyone else who has donated. I am a high school teacher so no heavy lifting or anything at work. Thanks!

9 Replies

Hi I donated in 2015. Was walking in the mall 5 days after surgery. Could have gone back to work in about 3 weeks(office). Husband had complications so was off longer. No lifting above 5 lbs for 8-12 weeks is common. Drink lots of water. First few days painful but after that easier than anticipated. Thank you for your gift. The average lifespan on dialysis is 5 years so you are really saving a life.


Hi , I donated in July of 2016 , discharged from the hospital 2 days later. I returned to part-time work in 3 days . No driving or lifting though. I eat well and drank plenty of water.

The support from other living donors made the difference.

Good luck you will be okay.



That’s great to hear. I am expected to donate sometime in December. I am donating Non Directed to create a chain. Will have the surgery at Cornell in NYC. My wife is very supportive. The rest of my family not so much. I have three young children and they are worried about something going wrong.


My mom donated her kidney to me January of this year. She was out of the hospital within one day and recovering at home. The pain is manageable and she didn’t feel it until about a week later.

She’s got tired quickly, but after about three months, she was back to her exercise routine and feeling normal.

Thank you for doing what you’re doing, you are an angel.


I donated in Feb of this year, I was off all pain meds by day 3. I was working from home by week 2. I still got tired pretty quickly, so I worked from home for 3 weeks. By week 6 I was cleared to start jogging, but I still couldn’t lift anything over 20 lbs and no aggressive core exercises like yoga, or spin. At month 6, I was cleared to do whatever I want! I will say, take your time, relax and rest. I wish I hadn’t rushed to get back to work. Use your full FMLA time! Good luck!


Everyone’s recovery is different and so many factors go into it. You should be prepared for best and worst case scenarios.

This may be helpful:


I donated in 2010 at the age of 53. I was walking gingerly the next day but up to a 1/4 mile at a time 4 days later. I was able to stop taking pain medications 4 days after surgery and then just did extra strength Tylenol. I would experience quick onset of fatigue...I would be feeling energetic for a few hours and then all of a sudden I was extremely tired and needed a nap. After a few weeks this went away. Went back to work 3 weeks later......half days for the first week and then regular schedule thereafter. I was not allowed to start regular exercise for a few months. Don't forget to keep a small pillow handy to hold against your stomach when you first try to get up from a bed or chair. It really reduces the pain. Best wishes and enjoy your experience. It is a wonderful thing that you are doing. Thank you.

1 like

I donated in 2003. I spent 3 days in the hospital and a 3 more in a Gift of Life House before I flew home. I had a pretty easy recovery and was back to basically normal in 3-4 weeks. Something that may have helped me is I was in very good condition prior to the surgery and I did not rush the recovery. I was given 4 weeks off of work and I took it easy and healed during that time. I think that taking time initially to heal is important. I have seen people try and "rush" their recovery from an injury or operation that then end up taking twice as long to recover.

Five months after donating I went to an Advanced Non Commissioned Officer Course (I was active duty Army) with no issues. Eight months after donating I deployed to Iraq, again with no issues.

Take the time you need initially and do not try to rush it.


Today was the day you became a everyone. Congratulations. Take it slow, drink lots of water, move often, and walk proud.


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