People who donate a kidney don't need to worry about living shorter lives because of it. The 80,000 Americans who have donated a kidney since 1994 had a mortality rate equal—and sometimes better than—that of the general population, researchers found. They believe donors may sometimes live a little longer than others because they tend to take better care of themselves after giving up a kidney.
There was a slightly higher risk of death in the 90 days after surgery, in which 25 donors died, but mortality rates leveled out after that. Some 6,000 Americans became live kidney donors last year, the Los Angeles Times notes. "It is incumbent on the transplantation community to show that these lives are not saved at the cost of placing the donors at risk," the lead researcher wrote. "We have shown that live kidney donation is safe and free from significant long-term excess mortality." (Read more kidney stories.)