What is a living kidney donor?

Living kidney donors choose to donate one of their kidneys to someone whose kidneys are failing. A healthy donor may donate directly to a relative, a friend or a stranger in need of a kidney – if their blood types are compatible. And if their blood types are not a good match, alternatives such as a "paired exchange" (when two donors swap recipients) may be possible.

The surgical procedure used to remove a kidney in almost all cases is minimally invasive, and UCSF doctors have performed it hundreds of times since 1999. After surgery, your remaining kidney grows a little larger and does the same amount of work that two did. Living kidney donors have the same life expectancy, general health and kidney function as healthy people with two kidneys.

The gift of a kidney from a living donor gives patients a much shorter wait time for their new kidney, less risk of complications and a better chance in the long run for a successful transplant.

If you have questions or would like more information about becoming a living kidney donor, please send us an email at [email protected].