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Finding a living donor

Who are living donors and why do they donate?

icon for kidney transplant from live donor

A living donor transplant is when a healthy person donates 1 of their 2 kidneys to someone whose kidneys no longer work. Anyone can learn about donating a kidney and consider if donating a kidney is right for them. Donors can include family, such as siblings, parents, cousins, or spouses. They can also just be friends, co-workers, or even a kind stranger. Here are a few reasons living donors give:

  • To help my friend feel better
  • To make a difference
  • I need my mom around
  • To help my sister live a long time
  • To have everyone’s lives return to normal
  • To grow old together
  • To help someone in need

Who can be a living donor?

At most transplant centers, your living donor must be:

  • At least 18 years old
  • Healthy and active
  • Able to take time off work or school to get the tests and interviews
  • Able to take off at least 2-3 weeks from work or school after the surgery
two adults
mother and baby

At most transplant centers, a living kidney donor can’t:

  • Have kidney disease, heart disease, diabetes, or cancer
  • Have high blood pressure that is difficult to control
  • Have certain viruses such as hepatitis C or HIV
  • Be very overweight (BMI over 35)
  • Have drug or alcohol problems

Let your transplant center do the screening to know what they will and won’t accept.

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