The best option for a patient waiting for a kidney transplant is to receive one from a living donor. At Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center, we perform between 75-100 living donor transplants each year.

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

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.

Advantages of a living kidney donor transplant:

  • Wait times for recipients are reduced from years to months, potentially avoiding dialysis.
  • Recipients have better outcomes with kidneys from living donors.
  • Kidneys from living donors may last nearly twice as long as kidneys from deceased donors.
  • Risk of rejection is low.

About half of the transplants performed at Ohio State are performed with kidneys from living donors. Often living donors are family members, but a growing number are friends or co-workers. There are also people who choose to donate a kidney without having a specific recipient in mind. These extraordinary people are called non-directed or altruistic donors.

Learn more on how to ask for a living kidney donation

Who would be a good living kidney donor candidate?

The decision to become a living donor is a voluntary one, and the donor may change his or her mind at any time during the process. The donor’s decision and reasons are kept confidential.

Living kidney donor qualifications:

  • Between the ages of 18 and 70.
  • In good overall physical and mental health free from uncontrolled high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis and organ disease.
  • Gender and race are not factors.
  • A matching blood type is not a requirement, as it is possible to donate with mismatched blood/tissue through Kidney Paired Donation (KPD).

Donor Assessment Form

Type directly into the form, then print, mail or fax to:
The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center
Comprehensive Transplant Center
300 W. 10th Ave., 11th Floor
Columbus, OH 43210
Fax: 614-293-6710

What are the risks of donating a kidney?

  • Life expectancy after donation is the same as that of people with two kidneys. A single kidney is able to meet the body's needs very well as it enlarges to do the work formerly shared by both kidneys.
  • Donors are tested and re-tested prior to surgery to ensure overall good health for the best possible outcomes. Only healthy people are accepted as donors. The safety of the donor is of the utmost importance.
  • Living kidney donation surgery is considered a relatively safe procedure, but it is still a major surgery with the potential for complications.
  • It is recommended that female donors wait at least six months after donation surgery before becoming pregnant.

How long does it take to recover from a kidney donation?

  • Surgery is usually performed laparoscopicly, meaning smaller incisions requiring a shorter hospital stay for faster recovery.
  • Most donors are able to go home the day after surgery.
  • About a week after surgery, donors generally report feeling tired but ready to go about normal activities.
  • Driving may resume one to two weeks after surgery, and depending on the occupation, can usually return to work in two to four weeks.
  • For the first six weeks, donors are restricted from lifting anything over five to ten pounds.
  • After that six-week period, all normal life activities can be resumed.

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.

Our Providers

Share this Page