Remote Donation

Remote kidney donation allows someone who wants to donate a kidney to a friend or family member in a distant city to donate to that friend or family member without requiring the donor to travel to the transplant center in that distant city.

Remote donation mitigates the challenges related to traveling for donation, such as the cost of traveling for both the workup process before transplant and the transplant itself. It also allows the donor to recover at home instead of in a hotel or relative’s home as long-distance travel after donation is usually not advised for at least a week post-surgery.

There are Three Types of Remote Donation:

Remote Standard Voucher Donation

Remote standard voucher donation occurs when a donor donates at a transplant center close to them, through the Voucher Program, on behalf of a loved one who is at a different transplant center in a distant city in advance of that loved one being matched for a kidney. The recipient of the voucher will be given prioritization through the NKR for a living donor transplant when they are ready for transplant and a match is found for them. Learn more about the Standard Voucher Program.

Remote Paired Donation

Remote paired donation occurs when a donor donates their kidney on behalf of another person in a paired exchange chain, but instead of their surgery being performed at the same transplant center where the person they are donating on behalf of is getting transplanted, the donor donates at a transplant center close to the donor’s home.

Remote Direct Donation

Remote direct donation occurs when a donor is donating directly to a person in need of a kidney instead of through paired donation, but the recipient is at a transplant center far from the donor’s home. The direct donor donates a transplant center close to their home and the kidney is safely transported to the recipient’s far off transplant center.

When a donor donates through the remote donation network, the NKR utilizes proven logistics systems pioneered in kidney swaps by the National Kidney Registry over the past decade to safely transport the kidney from the donor’s local transplant center to the transplant center in the distant city.

Below is a map of the centers that participate in the remote donation network.


Every day in the United States, approximately 64 people receive a kidney transplant*, a life-saving operation that can mean the difference between years of dialysis with a compromised quality of life and living a full, healthy and active life free from machines. For a kidney transplant to be successful, it is crucial that the donated kidney is delivered to its destination safely and on schedule.

To ensure safe delivery, the National Kidney Registry uses advanced GPS technology and our Failsafe software to monitor every shipped kidney.

Failsafe monitors the kidney from the time of pickup until it is safely delivered at the recipient center. If a kidney does not make it onto a scheduled flight, or even if the flight does not take off on time, the Failsafe system will send out an alert to our team so that we can manage the issue and ensure a safe and timely delivery. After over 4,000 kidney transplants, the National Kidney Registry has never lost a single organ in transit.

*23,401 kidney transplants from live and deceased donors in 2019, according to UNOS.