How to Become a Live Kidney Donor

Organ donation is extremely special because of its potential to change or even save a recipient’s life. Although there are many different organs which can be donated, the kidney is especially unique due to its ability to be donated by a living donor. Both the donor and recipient are able to live with just one healthy kidney!

Often, these donations come from family or even close friends to the recipient and are referred to as direct donors. It is becoming more common for non-direct donors, who do not know their recipients, to anonymously donate. Below is a general guide for becoming a live donor.

Steps for donating to someone you know (direct donor):

  1. Contact the transplant center where the known transplant candidate is registered
  2. An evaluation process will take place to make sure the donor and recipient are a good match. This evaluation will also confirm the donor is healthy enough to donate.
  3. If both the donor and recipient are a good match (which is often times not the case) and the donor is both healthy and willing to donate, a transplant can be scheduled at a time which works for both people.
  4. If the donor and recipient are not a good match but the donor is willing to donate to someone else, the transplant center may ask you to donate for someone who is a match and waiting for a kidney in the area.

Steps for donating if you don’t know someone in need of a kidney (non-direct donor):

  1. The first step is locating a transplant center. There are many resources for locating a transplant center near you. One is the US Department of Health and Human Services, which has a great resource for this on their website.
    1. Select “Transplant Centers by Organ” under Member Type
    1. Select “Kidney” for Organ Type
    1. Select your state or region
  2. An evaluation process takes place the same way it does in a direct donor process with the goals of finding a matching recipient and confirming the donor is healthy enough to donate.
  3. Once a donor and recipient are matched and the donor is both healthy and willing to donate, a transplant can be scheduled at a time which works for both people.

Having the opportunity to change someone’s life or even save it is an incredible thing that many people do not realize they have. Whether you know someone in need of a kidney or not, pursuing to become a live kidney donor is an opportunity open to everyone!

-Davis Hoover, Alexander’s Hope Intern

Sources:

Kidney.org

Kidneyfund.org