History of living donation
The first successful living donor transplant was performed between 23-year-old identical twins in 1954. Doctor Joseph E. Murray and associates at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital (now Brigham and Women’s Hospital) in Boston, Massachusetts, transplanted a healthy kidney from Ronald Herrick into his twin brother, Richard, who had chronic kidney failure.
Ronald Herrick donated his kidney in 1945 to his twin brother Richard.
Most early living donors were biological relatives of the recipient. This was done both to reduce the risk of organ rejection and to recognize the special bond between donor and recipient. Later, as transplant treatment improved and as transplant teams better understood the motivation of potential donors, transplants between non-relatives became more common. Some people now choose to be living donors without ever meeting their recipient.
Living donors have made possible more than 175,000 transplants in the United States. Almost all transplant centers in the United States perform living kidney donor transplants. Use the Member Directory to find a transplant program in your area.
Reference and Publication Information
United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) is committed to providing accurate and reliable information for transplant patients. The content on this page was originally created on February 25, 2005 by UNOS and last modified on August 22, 2016.
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.