Learn more about how Ohio State is leading the way in organ transplantation!

Why donate a kidney?

Why donate a kidney?

Patients with end-stage kidney disease have three options for treatment: dialysis, a kidney transplant from a deceased donor or a kidney transplant from a living donor.

Dialysis is only a temporary solution. Treatment schedules are time-consuming, as frequent as three times each week for four hours each session. While a patient can remain on dialysis for many years, it is not a cure for kidney disease. In fact, ten percent of patients on dialysis die each year while awaiting a kidney transplant. For some groups, such as elderly patients and patients with diabetes, there is an even greater risk.

Evaluation Process

Living Kidney Donor Evaluation Process

Living Kidney Donor Evaluation Process

The donor undergoes a medical history review and a complete physical examination. A psychological evaluation may be used to provide information, emotional support and assess motivation.

All prospective living donors meet with our Living Donor Advocate to discuss the candidate’s decision to become a donor. The Living Donor Advocate provides unbiased, confidential support, discusses your willingness to donate and assesses your understanding of informed consent.

Here’s what you can expect during your evaluation process:

  • You will need to provide a copy of your blood type or have blood drawn to confirm blood type
  • 24-hour blood pressure monitoring
  • Female donors will need to provide a copy of their last Pap test result, breast exam and mammogram report. If your Pap test or mammogram is more than a year old, you should schedule an appointment for new exams
  • You may need to complete a Glucose Tolerance Test (GTT) if requested by the Pre-Transplant Office
  • Blood collection for comprehensive tests and screening for communicable disease
  • 24-hour urine collection (this will be performed twice)
  • Chest X-ray and EKG
  • CT angiogram of kidneys
  • Final pre-donation laboratory studies (done seven to 10 days before surgery)
  • Full day at Transplant Clinic for education, meeting with transplant coordinator, psychosocial evaluation, surgical and medical evaluations, and completion of tests

Donation Process

Living Kidney Donation Process

Living Kidney Donation Process

All donation and transplant surgeries are done at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center by our transplant team. If our transplant team clears you as a donor and your recipient has been identified, the surgery will be scheduled within a few weeks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Living Kidney Donation FAQs

Living Kidney Donation FAQs

Paired Kidney Donation

Sometimes, a person may agree to donate a kidney to a recipient, but his or her blood or tissue type does not match their recipient. Ohio State’s Comprehensive Transplant Center can help match such a donor/recipient pair with another donor/recipient pair through a process called Kidney Paired Donation (KPD).

For example, if the recipient from one pair is a match with the donor from another pair and vice versa, our Transplant Center can arrange the exchange through two simultaneous transplants. This allows the two recipients to receive organs from two people who were willing to donate, even though the original pairings were incompatible or mismatched.

Both donor and recipient candidates are carefully evaluated and tested medically and psychosocially to ensure that the benefits outweigh the risks. It is important for both surgeries to be scheduled for the same time, in case either donor changes their mind at the time of surgery. Though the surgeries take place at the same time, they can occur at different hospitals and even in different time zones.

Paired donation can also involve multiple donors and recipients. In September 2011, Ohio State achieved national recognition with a six-way paired kidney transplant, coordinating the in-house transplantation of six kidneys in a domino-effect surgical process.

Ohio State has an internal paired donation program in addition to working with national donor exchange registries to share information among hospitals to find matches for pairs of donors and recipients who are not matches. These types of paired exchanges will hopefully have a positive impact on the waiting list for kidney transplants.

Your doctor will help you decide if a paired kidney donation is a good solution for your donation. 

PairedKidney
In a paired kidney exchange, an incompatible donor/recipient pair is matched with another incompatible donor/recipient pair for a swap. Each donor gives a kidney to the other person's intended recipient.

Our Latest Living Kidney Donor News

Patient Success Stories

After Donating a Kidney, Ironman Back to Training 6 Days a Week

Mike is an extreme athlete, participating in Iron Man Triathlon events. Yet even though Mike enjoys pushing himself physically, he took a break from competing to be a non-directed kidney donor.

Couple Share a Life and a Kidney

Megan, born with only one kidney that was not high functioning, received a kidney from her husband Jake in December, 2018 at Ohio State.

Chance encounter at Miami Valley Hospital leads to life-saving gift performed at Ohio State

Mike is an extreme athlete, participating in Iron Man Triathlon events. Yet even though Mike enjoys pushing himself physically, he took a break from competing to be a non-directed kidney donor.

James Received the Best Blessing Ever

Craig discusses his decision to become a living kidney donor - a decision that saved friend James' life and gave him the chance to watch his children grow up.

Donors Discuss Their Surgery Years Later

It's been more than five years since Jackie, Marsheen and Rollie each had their living kidney donation surgery here at Ohio State. All three were asked if they felt as good as they looked. The answer was 'yes'.

Six-Way Paired Kidney Exchange

In September 2011, surgeons at Ohio State completed a six-way, single-institution transplant, the first and largest-to-date in Ohio, and one of only a handful that have taken place in the United States.

Tips From Our Experts

Living Kidney Donation Best Option for Recipients

Todd Pesavento, MD, Medical Director of kidney transplantation explains why living kidney donation is the best option for kidney recipients and who can be a living kidney donor.
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