Kidney transplantation used to mean waiting, often for years, for a compatible, deceased-donor kidney. But today, many living donors—people willing to give one of their healthy kidneys to help someone else—are stepping into the gap. According to the National Kidney Foundation, in 2014 about 30 percent of all kidney transplants came from living donors.
If you receive a living kidney donation, benefits include a better outcome than with a deceased-donor transplant, a much shorter waiting time (typically three to six months), less dialysis time and the ability to schedule the operation to meet your and the donor’s needs.
If you’re considering becoming a kidney donor, rest assured that your health will not suffer, as the risk of complications to you is less than 1 percent. Giving up a kidney does not change your life expectancy, and in fact you may feel great satisfaction knowing that you helped save the life of a close relative, friend or even a stranger.
To find out if you're eligible to donate a kidney, please complete this online form.
There are two types of living donors:
- Related — A healthy blood relative of the person awaiting transplant. This includes a sibling, parent, child, aunt, uncle, cousin, etc.
- Unrelated — A healthy person who is not blood-related to the person awaiting transplant. This can include someone emotionally close, such as a spouse, in-law or close friend, or an altruistic donor—someone who gives a kidney to help any compatible recipient in need.