Looking for a Living Donor

If you need a kidney transplant, you must first be evaluated for a transplant by a transplant center (a hospital that does transplants – not every hospital does them). The evaluation is used to make sure you're a good candidate for a transplant. This must happen before any potential living donors can be considered. If you have not been evaluated for a transplant yet, you can:

  • Ask your doctor for a referral to a transplant center


  • You can also find and contact U.S. transplant centers near you
    • Call and ask for the "Kidney Transplant Coordinator", who will be a registered nurse who can help.

Then, talk to your transplant center about living and deceased donation options. Make sure that you are active on the waiting list for a transplant from a deceased donor, even if you prefer to get a kidney from a living donor.

I have a living donor. What do they need to do?

Any family members or friends who are interested in donating to you can contact your transplant center (ask for the “Transplant Coordinator”) for information and to begin the evaluation process. Visit the How to Donate page to learn more.

How can I ask someone to be my living donor?

Talk to your friends and family about your kidney failure and need for a donor. While you might not be comfortable asking people to donate, it may be helpful to make people aware of your need for a donor. That way, if someone is interested in pursuing donation, they can ask for more information.

Some people also decide to share their story and tell co–workers, community organizations, social groups, people who belong to their place of worship, or local newspapers or magazines that they need a transplant. Many people are also turning to social media to share their story.

Educate your family and friends about kidney transplantation and donation. You can contact NKF Cares, our Patient Help Line, at toll-free 855.653.2273 or email nkfcares@kidney.org to request free educational brochures about donation to share with your friends or family members.

What if I don't have a living donor?

You will need to work through your transplant center to discuss other options which might be available. If you are trying to find a kidney donor, the best way to do this is to have interested family members and friends tested for potential compatibility. If you cannot find a donor this way and you are a suitable transplant candidate, you will be placed on the transplant waiting list by the transplant center.

If you have any questions, you can also contact NKF Cares, our Patient Help Line, at toll-free 855.653.2273 or email nkfcares@kidney.org.

Kidney Donation
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If you have two healthy kidneys, you may be able to donate one to improve or even save someone else’s life. Ready to take the first step?
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About NKF Cares
NKF Cares is a free, confidential hotline with trained professionals ready to answer your questions or concerns. Our peer-mentoring program, NKF PEERS, connects anyone affected by kidney disease with an informed and supportive mentor who has already been through the process.