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Discover what support is available for living donors and their loved ones, and where to find further advice and information along your journey.

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Donation faqs

WHAT IS LIVING KIDNEY DONATION?

Quite simply, a living kidney donor is someone who chooses to give one of their kidneys to someone with kidney disease who needs a transplant. This could be a friend or family member, or some people choose to simply donate their kidney to someone they’ve never met who is waiting for a kidney.

You can read more about the process here.

WHY DO WE NEED LIVING KIDNEY DONORS?

Six people die every week waiting for a kidney transplant in the UK. And there are over 5,500 people currently on the waiting list. With very few organs from deceased donors being viable, most patients’ best option is to receive a kidney from a living donor.

Learn more about the benefits of living donation here.

WHAT IS THE CURRENT SITUATION FOR PEOPLE WITH KIDNEY ISSUES IN THE UK?

A Kidney Research UK report showed there are an estimated 7.2 million people in the UK living with chronic kidney disease. That’s more than 10% of the entire population.

Currently, nearly 3,000 people receive a kidney transplant every year. However, there are over 5,500 who are waiting for a transplant right now, and an adult patient is expected to be on the waiting list for an average of 18 months before receiving a kidney.

It’s estimated that the demand for kidney transplantation could be as high as 12,000 every year by 2033.

HOW WILL DONATING A KIDNEY HELP?

One of the greatest gifts that someone can give is to become a living donor and donate one of their kidneys. This incredibly generous act can change someone’s life, potentially taking them off dialysis – or preventing them from needing it – and greatly improving their quality of life.

Donating a kidney also saves the NHS money. People who are waiting for a kidney donation usually need dialysis to stay alive, which is estimated to cost the NHS £34,000 per patient per year.

CAN I DONATE IF I LIVE OUTSIDE OF THE UK?

You can still donate to a friend or family member who needs a kidney, but if you are not a resident in the UK then there are some restrictions on donating to people who you don’t have a close or pre-existing relationship with.

You should contact the Living Donor Coordinator in your recipient’s transplant centre for further information and advice before making any arrangements for donor tests, or to travel to the UK. If your first language is not English and you are considered to be a suitable donor, translation support is available throughout the assessment process.

IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE I CAN DO TO HELP?

We understand that donating a kidney is not right for everyone. If you’re not in a position to donate a kidney yourself, you can still help by starting conversations with your friends and family about living kidney donation, and spreading the word about the difference that it makes. This can be as simple as following us on social media following us on our Facebook, Instagram, or X accounts and sharing our posts, or sharing a link to this website with other people.

You are also helping just by learning more about the importance of kidney health on this site. Read about how you can keep your kidneys healthy, and discover the benefits of becoming a living kidney donor. This way, you can be ready to have important and inspiring conversations with others about our kidneys and how important they are for our health.

Discover more ways you can help those waiting for a kidney transplant here.

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