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Can a Female Donate a Kidney to a Male?

Terri Thede, Living Kidney Donor, National Kidney Donor Organization

If you are considering becoming a living kidney donor, you may be wondering what role the sex of the donor and the recipient play in kidney matching. For example, what if a female donor wants to donate a kidney to a male recipient? Is there a difference between male and female kidney size?

Usually, the sex or gender of the donor and recipient do not play a significant role in kidney matching between donors and recipients. Gender matching is not a requirement for a successful kidney transplant, and gender is not a primary factor when determining whether a kidney donation can take place.

Except in the case of very small females, who some studies have shown should not become donors to larger males, the difference between male and female kidney size should not cause any issues with donation or transplantation. Other factors are more important, including blood and tissue type matching, which are crucial to minimize the risk of organ rejection. (Learn more about kidney matching.)

Therefore, a woman can donate a kidney to a man as long as the woman is deemed a suitable donor and other compatibility factors are met.

It’s important to note that the final decision on whether a specific donor and recipient are a suitable match will be determined through a comprehensive evaluation conducted by medical professionals at a transplant center. They will consider various factors to ensure the best possible outcome for both the donor and recipient.

In the unlikely event that there is a gender-related issue that prevents the match between the donor and the intended recipient from being approved, donors can still donate on behalf of their intended recipient through the National Kidney Registry’s Voucher Program.

The NKR does not recommend any restrictions or guidelines related to the mix of gender between donor and recipients matched in the NKR and has seen very few instances where a center has declined a match based on the gender mix. If you have any concerns about gender matching considerations regarding your kidney donation, please consult your transplant team.

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