Kidney Donation

The Basics

The kidneys are a pair of reddish-brown organs located on either side of the spine just below the diaphragm, behind the liver and stomach. They are bean-shaped and measure about 4.5" long, 2.5" wide. The primary function of the kidneys is to remove waste from the body through the production of urine. Acute renal failure is characterized by inability to produce urine and remove wastes.  The treatment depends on the cause, often involving the use of diuretics, restricted protein intake, and, if the kidney failure cannot be otherwise treated, dialysis and/or transplantation.

Who Can be a Living Donor?

Living donors should be in good overall physical and mental health and older than 18 years of age. Some medical conditions could prevent you from being a living donor. Medical conditions that may prevent a living kidney donation may include uncontrolled high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, HIV, hepatitis, acute infections, or a psychiatric condition requiring treatment. You must be fully informed of the known risks involved with donating. Your decision to donate should be completely voluntary and free of pressure or guilt.

The Process

The first step is to contact the transplant center where your consent will be asked to begin a medical screening.  This is followed by a blood test to see if you are compatible with the intended transplant candidate.  There will also be a psychosocial and medical evaluation.  This serves two purposes: to protect you and to help ensure success of the transplant.  Your consent to become a donor is completely voluntary. You should never feel pressured to become a donor. You have the right to delay or stop the donation process at any time. The reasons behind your decision will be kept confidential.

Kidney Paired Donation

When a patient is in need of a kidney transplant, family, friends and loved ones may step forward to offer the gift of a living kidney donation. Many times, the donor is not compatible with the recipient. Paired donation matches one incompatible donor/recipient pair to another pair in the same situation. Paired donation breaks chains by making them. The longest kidney chain ever completed included 68 people (34 donors and 34 recipients) at 26 hospitals.

The Numbers

Every ten minutes, someone is added to the national transplant waiting list.

As of 1/28/18 12:39 AM, 114,924 persons are in need of a lifesaving organ transplant.  Of this number, 95,269 is for kidneys.

26.6 years is the survival rate from a living kidney donation compared to 14.7 years from a deceased donor.

Our Sources

Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network

United Network for Organ Sharing

Alliance for Paired Kidney Donation