Parents, children, husbands, wives, friends,co-workers--even total strangers--can be living-donor candidates.

Living donor candidates should be:

  • in good physical and mental health.
  • free from high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, HIV, hepatitis, or organ-specific diseases.
  • at least 18 years old.

These medical/physical criteria are very important for organ donation, but there are others. They play a critical role in finding good candidates for transplant. A good donor should also:

  • be willing to donate: No one should feel that they MUST donate.
  • be well informed: A good donor candidate has a solid grasp of the risks, benefits, and potential outcomes, both good and bad, for both the donor and recipient.
  • have good support: Significant others should support your decision.
  • have no alcohol or substance abuse problems.
  • have psychiatric diagnoses well controlled over an extended period of time.

The transplant program must perform a minimum series of tests to assess the medical and psychosocial health of potential living kidney donors. It may perform additional tests it believes are needed to assess the potential donor's health and well-being. While there are not currently a required set of tests for potential living donors of other organs, the transplant program will perform many of the same tests as for living kidney donors as well as others appropriate for the organ to be donated.

Transplant programs also require written informed consent process that informs the prospective living donor of all aspects of and potential outcomes from living donation. For living kidney donation, the program is required to address certain specific issues in its informed consent procedure. Similar requirements are in development for living donors of other organs. For more information about requirements for medical and psychosocial testing and informed consent of potential living donors, consult the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network Web site >

This Web site is intended solely for the purpose of electronically providing the public with general health-related information and convenient access to the data resources. UNOS is not affiliated with any one product nor does UNOS assume responsibility for any error, omissions or other discrepancies.

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