Qualifications

You can have tests to become a living donor if you are healthy and between 18 and 69 years old.

People with major health problems cannot donate one of their kidneys because surgery may be too risky for them. Examples of major health problems include:

  • high blood pressure,
  • diabetes,
  • heart disease,
  • and obesity. 

Living kidney donors must also have a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or less. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a tool to help you calculate your BMI.

Finally, living kidney donors must also be mentally and emotionally healthy and willing to go through the emotional stress some donors feel after surgery and donation.

Who Can Donate?

You don't have to be related to the transplant recipient (the person who receives a donated organ) to donate a kidney.

It's true that a blood-related family member, like a sibling or a child, is more likely to be a good match than someone who's not a member of your immediate family. But most living kidney donor transplants, including kidneys that are donated from people outside your family, are usually very successful because these kidneys come from a living donor.

Living donors can also include husbands, wives, in-laws, close friends, church members, and members of the same community.

Initial Screening

To see if you meet criteria for living donation, you will need to complete a brief health screening survey. The survey will ask you questions about your:

  • medical and surgical history,
  • what medications you take,
  • and your family medical history.  

After you finish and successfully pass the screening survey, a nurse coordinator will review the survey and contact you about the next step in the evaluation process.  

Selection & Matching 

The transplant team will use two main tests to determine if you are a good match with a potential recipient. These tests include a blood type test and a crossmatch test. These tests are performed to determine if the recipient’s immune system has a greater chance of reacting against your donated kidney, making the recipient sick.

Blood Type Test

Your blood type needs to be compatible with the recipient’s blood type:

Donor's Blood Type Transplant Candidate's Blood Type
O O
A or O A
B or O B
A, B, AB, or O AB

Crossmatch Test

During this test, a sample of your blood is mixed with a sample of the recipient’s blood. This test determines a positive crossmatch or negative-crossmatch.

If the crossmatch is positive, the recipient’s immune system will immediately attack and destroy your kidney after you donate it. So you can only donate your kidney if this test shows a negative crossmatch.

Paired Donation Program

Blood type and crossmatch tests help determine if a recipient’s immune system will accept a new kidney. If you have a blood type that is not compatible with the recipient you planned to donate to, the paired donation program can help match you and your recipient up with another incompatible donor/recipient pair. Learn more about the paired donation program.

Before you donate a kidney, we first need to make sure you and the transplant recipient (the person who will receive your kidney) are compatible, or a good match.

Financial Resources

Are you considering living organ donation but are worried about costs of care? Learn more by reading the American Society of Transplantation's Live Donor Financial Toolkit.

Independent Living Donor Advocate (ILDA)

During the entire evaluation process, the independent living donor advocate (ILDA) is available to help make sure your rights as a donor are protected.

To Begin

Start the kidney screening process.
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Paul J. Campsen, MD

Patient Rating:

4.8

4.8 out of 5

Paul Jeffery Campsen, MD, FACS, FAST is the Surgical Director of Pancreas Transplantation, Adult and Pediatric Kidney Transplantation, and Living Donor Kidney Transplantation at the University of Utah.   He also specializes in Autotransplantation of the kidney for chronic kidney pain and loin pain hematuria syndrome.  He practices at the University... Read More

Robin D. Kim, MD

Patient Rating:

4.5

4.5 out of 5

Dr. Kim received his Bachelor of Arts from The Johns Hopkins University and his Doctor of Medicine from Jefferson Medical College. He completed his residency in General Surgery at the University of Massachusetts School of Medicine which included a two-year research fellowship in liver regeneration and cancer. Following his residency, Dr. Kim went ... Read More

Specialties:

Kidney Transplant, Liver Cancer, Liver Disease, Liver Transplant, Liver, Biliary, & Pancreas Surgery, Living Kidney Donor Transplant, Living Liver Donor Transplant, Pancreas Transplant, Transplant Surgery

Locations:

Huntsman Cancer Hospital 801-585-6140
Primary Children's Hospital
Pediatric Gastroenterology
801-585-6140
University Hospital
Transplant Center
801-585-6320

University of Utah

University Hospital 50 N. Medical Drive
Salt Lake City, UT 84132
Map
(801) 585-3188