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Remote Kidney Donation

For Living Kidney Donors who do not want to Travel

What is remote donation?

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

Why remote donation?

The reasons to consider remote donation are convenience and the elimination of donor travel costs for both the donor and the donor’s caretaker. Donating a kidney locally eliminates the need to take an airplane to a distant transplant center at least two times (donor workup, pre-op and donation surgery) and allows the donor to recover at home once they are discharged from the hospital after surgery. Because kidney donation is major surgery, it is recommended that the donor avoid flying for a week after the surgery, preventing donors who donate in distant cities from recovering at home. The airplane tickets, hotel rooms, ground transportation and meals are costs that the donor and the donor’s caretaker can reduce or eliminate if the donor donates locally.

How does remote donation work?

Once the donor’s kidney is removed at the local hospital, The National Kidney Registry has the kidney packaged on ice and transported to the distant hospital using all of the same logistics systems successfully employed in kidney swaps. Once the kidney arrives, the patient surgery commences as if the donor surgery was completed in the same building. The first shipped living donor kidney using a commercial airline occurred in 2008 between hospitals in New York and California. Since then over 1,000 kidneys have been successfully shipped by the National Kidney Registry between distant centers in support of kidney swaps. Remote donation for the first direct donor occurred in 2017, facilitating a transplant between a donor at Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego, California and a patient at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. Read more about the first remote donation case here.

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