I Want to Learn More About Living Kidney Donation

Since 1954, when the first successful living donor transplant took place in Boston, living donors have been giving the gift of life and making a difference. This tradition has allowed thousands of people facing kidney failure to live longer, healthier lives, free from the challenging routine of dialysis.

What is Living Kidney Donation?

Living kidney donation is when a living person donates one of their kidneys to someone whose kidneys are no longer functioning properly. The donated kidney is surgically removed from the living donor and transplanted into the recipient.

Why Do People Need Kidney Transplants?

A kidney transplant is used to treat kidney failure. People with kidney failure, also called end-stage kidney disease or renal failure, need either dialysis or a kidney transplant in order to stay alive. Most kidney disease is caused by diabetes or high blood pressure, but can also be caused by glomerulonephritis, polycystic kidney disease, birth defects, lupus and other immune diseases, obstructions like kidney stones or tumors, or repeated urinary infections.

Becoming a Living Kidney Donor

If you want to become a living kidney donor, you can donate to someone you know or a stranger. Before you become a living kidney donor you will need to go through thorough testing to ensure you are medically able to donate.

If you want to donate your kidney to someone specific, the NKR’s Voucher Program is the best way to ensure your intended recipient gets the best matched kidney, and you don’t have to be compatible with your intended recipient. You donate on your own schedule and we will find a recipient who is the best match for your kidney. Your donation generates a voucher for your intended recipient, and when they are ready for their transplant they can redeem their voucher for a kidney from a well-matched living donor. You can also name up to five family members as backup voucher holders should the primary voucher holder end up not redeeming the voucher.

Living Kidney Donation By the Numbers

  • 90,000+
    Number of people in the United States waiting for a kidney from a deceased donor
  • 3–10 years
    Typical wait time for a deceased kidney donor
  • 90 days
    Typical wait time for a kidney patient to find a matched kidney from a living donor through the NKR
  • 10–15 years
    Length of time the average kidney from a deceased donor lasts
  • 20–40 years
    Length of time the average kidney from a living donor lasts

How the National Kidney Registry Can Help

The National Kidney Registry is an organization dedicated to saving and improving the lives of people facing kidney failure by increasing the number of living donor transplants and improving the donation process. The NKR is also dedicated to supporting and protecting all donors, and making sure potential donors are fully aware of what donating a kidney entails.