About your donor


Why it’s important to know some medical information about your donor

Key points

  • You will need to know basic medical information about your donor
  • The health of your donor may influence the health of the pancreas (or kidney) that is being donated to you, which may affect your health
  • Some donated organs are more likely to work for longer than others
  • All donated organs carry some risk, though this is generally much lower than the risk of staying on the waiting list

Some donors have healthier organs than others

There are many things that can affect how well a donated pancreas (or kidney) will work after a transplant. The health of your donor and their organs is one of them.

All donated organs carry some risk, but this will vary from donor to donor. In general, this risk is much lower than the risk of staying on the waiting list or long-term dialysis.

It is important to know some information about your donor to find out things that could affect the health of your transplant.

Factors that can affect the health of your transplanted organ

  • The age of your donor
  • Whether your donor had any serious diseases or health issues
  • For kidney transplantation, whether you are receiving a kidney from a living or deceased donor

Learn about the risks from a donated pancreas

Gathering information from living donors

If you also need a kidney transplant, you might be considering receiving a kidney from a living donor (pancreases are not donated by living donors in the UK).

Getting information from living donors is relatively straightforward. With a living donor, the team looking after that person can ask questions and carry out detailed tests to look for any signs of illness.

This means that the transplant team can have greater confidence about the health and risks of the donated kidney.

Learn more about living kidney donation

Gathering information about deceased donors

In the UK, pancreases can only be donated by someone who has died (a deceased donor). For simultaneous pancreas and kidney (SPK) transplants, the pancreas and kidney are both donated by the same deceased donor.

Getting information about a deceased donor is not straightforward and it can sometimes be difficult to gather health information. This is because:

  • We cannot ask deceased donors about their previous health
  • Donors may not have told their loved ones or GP about their health issues
  • There may only be a short time available to carry out tests on the donor 

Answers to common questions

More information



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