Thinking about donating to a specific person?

Here are the steps to be evaluated as a living donor to a specific person (such as a family member, friend, acquaintance, co‐worker, etc):

  1. First, the potential transplant recipient must be evaluated for a transplant.
    • A hospital that does transplants (transplant center) needs to evaluate the person to make sure they're a good candidate for a transplant and that they would benefit from having a transplant.
    • This must happen before any potential living donors can be considered.
    • The potential recipient can ask his or her doctor for a referral to a transplant center.
    • You can also can also find a list of all U.S. transplant centers at http://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov/members/search.asp
      • Under Step 1, select a Member Type: choose "Transplant Centers"
      • Under Step 2, choose the state of residence (or surrounding states)
      • Call and ask for the "Kidney Transplant Coordinator", who will be a registered nurse who can help.
  2. If the potential recipient has been approved for a transplant, then any potential living donors can contact that hospital to ask about donation.
    • Talk with the "Kidney Transplant Coordinator" about the possibility of donating. The Kidney Transplant Coordinator will be a registered nurse who can answer any questions and get the process started.
    • If you live far away from that hospital, they may refer you to another hospital in your local area for initial tests. But, you still need to start by contacting the potential recipient's hospital to begin the process.
  3. Educate Yourself
    You should first read everything you can about living donation, outcomes, risks, and benefits.
    Q&A on living donation: Read the Q&A carefully to ensure that you understand the risks and benefits, the evaluation process, surgery process, and possible outcomes.
    Consensus Statement on the Live Organ Donor: The Consensus Statement was published in the December 13, 2000 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Table 1 lists elements of disclosure for potential living donors — meaning, these are all the things you should ask the transplant center prior to donation. That way you can make an informed decision.