Living Kidney Donors: The Living Proof

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Did you know that you have two kidneys, but can survive with just one?

Kidneys make up about 80 percent of the organs that are transplanted each year. And since 2000, more than 40 percent of all transplanted kidneys have come from living donors. Keep reading to learn more about the difference that kidneys from living donors can make.

There are 3 types of living donor kidney transplants.

  • In a directed donation, the donor indicates who will receive the kidney. In this case, the donor usually is a biological relative, or an unrelated person with a personal connection like a friend or coworker.
  • A paired donation (sometimes called a “paired exchange”) involves more than one set of donors and recipients and is essentially a “donor swap.”
  • In an altruistic donation (sometimes called a “Good Samaritan” or “non-directed donation”), the donor gives to a stranger based solely on medical compatibility with any patient in need.

Well-matched kidneys from living donors last nearly twice as long as those from deceased donors.

  • 14.7 years: deceased donor kidney
  • 26.6 years: kidney from living donor

Kidneys from living donors lead to higher survival rates for transplant recipients.

3 months

3 years

5 years

10 years

Kidney from living donor

99.5%

98.6%

92.0%

77.7%

Deceased donor kidney

98.4%

95.6%

83.4%

62.4%

To be a living donor, you must be:

  • At least 18 years old
  • Able to provide informed consent
  • In excellent medical and psychiatric health
  • A compatible blood match to the recipient

Ochsner staff helps set U.S. policy about living donor transplants.

Rebecca Guilera, a registered nurse and certified clinical transplant coordinator at the Ochsner Multi-Organ Transplant Institute, is one of about 20 medical professionals who sit on the Living Donor Committee of the national Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network. The committee helps the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services develop policy and guidance about living donor lung transplants.

For more information about becoming a living donor, call the Ochsner Kidney Donor Transplant Office at 800-643-1635.

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