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Living kidney donors describe motives behind gifts of life

Libby Frashier

A mother. An acquaintance. A stranger. Unique situations motivated their decisions, but these compassionate donors made the same choice. Read their stories to learn why each decided to change a life.

Living Kidney Donor

Give hope for a better tomorrow

More than 100,000 people are waiting for a miracle, but it only takes one person to make a difference. If you are waiting for a kidney donation, consider asking a family member, friend or community member if he or she would donate. Almost 45 of every 100 kidney donors are living donors. Someone in your life may be willing to donate life.

At The University of Kansas Hospital Center for Transplantation, we provide a living kidney donor team dedicated to guiding donors and recipients through the living donor process.

What does it mean to be a living kidney donor?

A living kidney donor is someone who donates one of his or her two healthy kidneys to a family member, unrelated friend or even a complete stranger. The remaining kidney can do the job of two.

Who can be a living kidney donor?

Any healthy adult age 18 or older with normal kidney function can potentially donate. Living donors will undergo an evaluation at our Center for Transplantation to ensure they are a fit for donation.

What are the benefits of living donor kidneys?

Kidneys from living donors typically function much longer than kidneys from deceased donors. Advantages of living donor transplants include:

  • Better long-term outcomes
  • Shorter wait times
  • Scheduled surgery
  • Lower risk of rejection

What can the living kidney donor expect?

Our kidney transplant team will explain the entire process to your living donor, including recovery time and potential financial considerations. Long-term life expectancy and general health of the donor are usually unaffected by the removal of one kidney. However, as with any major surgery, there is risk of complications.

Living kidney donation - paired donation

What if my living kidney donor is not a match?

In some cases a living donor may not be able to donate to their intended recipient for a number of factors. In these instances, paired kidney donation is considered – a process where a donor donates to someone they don't know so that the intended recipient can receive a kidney from the other recipient's living donor.

Organ donation costs

The recipient's insurance usually covers the living donor's evaluation, medical care and surgery. Insurance does not cover the donor's travel and lodging expenses, wages lost during recovery and yearly exams.

Considering donation? Learn about the donor evaluation process.