Receiving a kidney

Find out what you need to know about donation issues and kidney transplantation

Key points

  • Kidneys can be donated from living or deceased donors
  • Kidneys from living donors have advantages over kidneys from deceased donors
  • There are more people waiting for transplants than there are donors
  • All donated organs carry some risk, but this is generally lower risk than dialysis

Types of kidney donor

Living donors

A living donor is someone who has agreed to donate their kidney while they are still alive. There are many advantages to receiving a kidney from a living donor. Kidneys from living donors are more likely to work straight away and remain working for longer.

Learn about living kidney donation

Deceased donors

A deceased donor is someone who has donated their kidney after they die. Most kidney transplants come from deceased donors. To receive a kidney from a deceased donor you will need to go on the national transplant waiting list. The average wait for a deceased donor kidney is 2-3 years.

Learn about deceased kidney donation

Register to donate

In the UK, around 5,000 people are in need of a kidney transplant to transform their lives, and hundreds of patients die each year waiting for a kidney transplant due to a shortage of organ donors. Organ donation usually happens after the donor has died. But with kidneys, it can also happen when the donor is alive. This is possible as nearly everyone has two kidneys, but can lead normal, healthy lives with just one.

Register to donate

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