Risks from the donated kidney

Find out what factors can affect the health of a donated kidney

Key points

  • All donated kidneys carry some risk, though in general this is much lower than the risk of long-term dialysis
  • Generally, kidneys from living donors have lower risks than kidneys from deceased donors
  • On average, kidneys from older donors do not tend to work for as long as kidneys from younger donors
  • It is possible for diseases to be passed to you through the donated kidney

All donated kidneys carry some risk


Generally, the risks from a donated kidney are much lower than the risk of long-term dialysis. But the risk changes from donor to donor as some are healthier than others.

This means that you and your transplant team may need to make a difficult decision about whether or not a particular kidney is right for you.

Factors that can affect the health of a donated kidney

How can the donor’s medical history affect your kidney transplant?

There are many donor health issues that could affect how well a transplant works:

What happens if your donor is found to have health issues?

Your kidney transplant team will inform you if your donor has any significant health problems that may increase the risk of diseases being passed on or may reduce the life-span of the kidney transplant. You will be told how this might affect your health and how well a transplanted kidney from this donor might work.

What do you need to know about your donor?

More information

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