I decided almost immediately that I wanted to work with Baylor University Medical Center of Dallas for this process. Baylor is a great hospital and has performed over 3000 kidney transplants since 1985. I searched and searched and found an initial questionnaire that must be filled out to start the donation process. The questionnaire was fairly comprehensive and included subjects such as blood type, family medical history, surgical history, current medications and overall questions about your current health and lifestyle. Near the end there was an optional question asking, "what makes you want to donate your kidney?" I had to think about how best to respond to this as there are several reasons that I want to donate my kidney. Since there was a limit to the amount of characters you could type I decided to keep it short and sweet: I have two healthy kidneys and there are plenty of people with zero healthy kidneys and I'm happy to share.
I submitted my questionnaire and waited. After waiting a couple of days, and being the "go getter" that I am (aka impatient), I decided to call the transplant center to ask what I needed to do next. The delightful transplant coordinator informed me that she did in fact receive my questionnaire and that she would be sending me a document with instructions for me to read and sign.
An hour or so later I received a 28 page document. This document laid out in great detail the process for kidney donation. As an donor you are not allowed to receive any money or financial gain for your donation. As a donor you have your own social worker and other personnel dedicated specifically to you that have no interaction with the recipient. They are there to inform you of risks and other concerns. As a donor you have the option to back out at any time for any reason. As a donor you will be evaluated both physically and mentally to make 100% certain that you are a good candidate for donation and that your body can handle the surgery and recovery.
I signed and returned the document and waited for the next steps.