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National Kidney Transplant Waiting List

Updated November 15, 2022

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Kidney Transplants in US – 2022

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US Living Donor Transplants – 2022

Living Donor Information

Living donation occurs when a living person decides to donate one of their kidneys to someone in need of a transplant.

There are many benefits to receiving a kidney from a living donor versus one from a deceased donor:

The most obvious is that a kidney from a living donor lasts on average twice as long as one from a deceased donor.

Studies indicate that the less time the patient is on dialysis, the better the transplant outcome. Receiving a preemptive transplant and never going on dialysis leads to higher transplant success rates.

Medical advances and drugs have made it much easier for someone to be a compatible donor. In the past, living donors needed to be a close relative. Now, it’s more common that a living donor is not related to their recipient.

Transplant recipients generally live twice as long as those who stay on dialysis and transplant recipients are not restricted by the challenging routine of dialysis.

General Facts About Becoming A Living Donor:

You can change your mind at any time during the process. Your decision and reasons will be kept confidential.

Recovery times vary on an individual basis; however, most living donors are released from the hospital within 4-6 days and resume normal activities about four to six weeks after surgery.

Medical expenses for living donation are generally covered by the transplant recipient’s insurance plan. This includes expenses for your evaluation, surgery, and certain follow-up tests and medical appointments.

In most cases transplant centers require follow-up appointments at six, 12 and 24 months after donation.

Living donor qualifications

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Be in excellent overall health.
  • Have above average kidney function.
  • Have a willingness to help.

A living donor does not have to be a blood relative.

Types of  Living Donation:

Directed Donation

Donor to Known Recipient

Directed donation is where the living donor names who the recipient will be. The recipient may be a blood relative, a spouse, a friend, a co-worker, or some other acquaintance. Most living donations are directed. Currently, there are about 6,000 to 7,000 living kidney donors each year in the U.S. They come from all walks of life, ethnicities, ages, and locations.

Paired Exchange

Donor to Unrelated Recipient

In this situation, donor/recipient pairs where the donors are not able to donate to the intended recipients because of blood types that aren’t compatible. However, the donor in one pair is compatible with the recipient of the other pair, and vice versa, allowing the donor of one pair to donate to the recipient of the other pair.

Non-Directed Donation

Donor to Unknown Recipient

In non-directed donation, the living donor does not specify the recipient. Instead, the recipient is selected from a list of compatible people on a kidney waiting list. This form of donation sometimes is called “anonymous,” “altruistic,” or “Good Samaritan” donation because the donor and recipient do not know each other at the time of donation.

Resources

American Association of Kidney Patients

Provides education and support resources for kidney patients

Living Donors Online

Provides information and support for living donors or potential living donors.

Dove Transplant

DOVE works with veterans to help identify living donors.

National Kidney Foundation (NKF)

Provides information for patients, medical professionals and the public

Transplant Living

Offers information about living donation and the process of getting a transplant

United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS)

Provides information and data about living donor transplants.

Shannon Mulroy

Living Donor Advocate

For Kidney Solutions

“As a mother of a kidney recipient, I knew first hand what life was like on dialysis & having a rare kidney disease. So when I was blessed to become an altruistic donor, I felt like I won the golden ticket and was walking into Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.  I wish I had a 1000 kidneys to do it over and over.”

Kerrville Support Group Meeting

"Donating my kidney to my father was the best decision I have ever made. And although Dad was reluctant to accept it from me, I am forever grateful for his bravery. My children have their grandpa back, my mom has her husband again, and my brother and I have Dad again."
Amanda
Amanda De León