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Kidney Transplant Program

Living and Deceased Donor Kidney Transplants

There are two types of kidney transplants:

  • Living donor transplants (preferred*).
  • Deceased donor transplants.

* Living donor kidney transplants are preferred since they have better outcomes or higher success rates than deceased donor transplants.

Living Donor Kidney Transplant

A living donor transplant is a procedure during which a kidney is removed from a healthy donor and surgically placed in an individual with kidney failure. The living donor can be anyone who is healthy to donate. It can be a family member, spouse or friend. Living donor kidneys can also come from strangers or someone who wants to help someone in need of a kidney.

A living donor transplant has many advantages over a deceased donor kidney transplant, the most important being a significantly higher success rate. Additional reasons include:

  • You will shorten the amount of time you have to wait to receive a kidney transplant. The average wait time for a deceased donor kidney could be up to eight years.
  • A kidney from a living donor generally functions immediately after transplant. A deceased donor kidney might take several days or weeks to function normally.
  • The living donor transplant can be scheduled, allowing the recipient and donor preparation time. You will not know when a deceased donor kidney will be available, and surgery must be performed very soon after it is available.

Who would be a good living donor candidate?

Biological siblings generally make the best living donors due to matching. However, with the advancements in drugs and treatment for rejection prevention, anyone can be considered a donor if they have a compatible blood type.

Most healthy individuals between the ages of 18 and 60 are potential donors. All living donors are evaluated individually. You should discuss donation with immediate and extended family members, friends, co-workers, and friends of friends. The success of kidney transplants using unrelated living donors is nearly as high as living related donors.

All potential kidney donors must demonstrate that the decision to donate is made freely, electively and without coercion or valuable compensation.

NOTE: The recipient and donor teams function separately.

If you are interested in being evaluated as a potential living donor, please contact our living donor program by calling 302-623-3866 to get the process started.

We also have a secure online web form also provides convenience in registering your interest to be considered as a potential donor. Or lick on the blue bar to the right labeled “Become a Living Donor”.

Deceased Donor Kidney Transplant

A deceased donor is an individual who has recently passed away of causes not affecting the organ intended for transplant. Deceased donor organs usually come from people who have decided to donate their organs before death by signing organ donor cards. Permission for donation also may be given by the deceased person’s family at the time of death.

A deceased donor kidney transplant occurs when a kidney is taken from a deceased donor and is surgically transplanted into the body of a recipient whose natural kidneys are diseased or not functioning properly.

In the Philadelphia / Delaware / Baltimore region, the average wait time for a deceased donor kidney could be up to eight years.