Hyland, 21, has battled kidney dysplasia all her life. She received a kidney from her father, actor Edward James Hyland. The actress gave the interview to Seventeen magazine while she was recovering from surgery.
The actress, who plays teenager Haley Dunphy on the ABC comedy, said the experience taught her how important her family was.
You know that family is going to be there for you no matter what. My dad gave me a freakin' kidney! she said to Seventeen.
But it's also the families that you create outside of your family. And you really find out what kind of people you're friends with. It was just amazing, and it really opened my eyes to see who's there for me and who's not, she said in an interview.
Hyland said she especially credits her boyfriend, Matt Prokop, who starred in Disney Channel's 'Geek Charming' along with the actress, for helping her deal with her condition.
He helps me with my medication and takes me to doctor appointments and all the stuff that I need to do to take care of myself, she said. Any other 21-year-old guy would not be there, I guarantee it. I am one of the luckiest people in the world to have him be there for me.
She said she is most thankful for her second chance at life-not a lot of people get that.
What is 'kidney dysplasia'?
So what is this illness plaguing the 'Modern Family' star?
Kidney dysplasia occurs when one of the baby's kidneys do not develop properly while in the mother's womb. Cysts form in the place of normal kidney tissue.
If kidney dysplasia presents in both kidneys, babies do not often make it to term. If kidney dysplasia occurs in only one kidney, then most babies grow up to be normal adults with little to no health problems. In most cases kidney dysplasia only occurs in one of the organs. Most people can survive with only one properly functioning kidney.
However, some need to undergo dialysis and kidney transplants throughout their lives, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
The kidney is removed only if it causes pain and high blood pressure.