What is Living Kidney Donation?

What is Living Kidney Donation?

Most people are born with two healthy kidneys and can safely donate one while continuing to live a healthy life. Donating a kidney – becoming a living donor – is a selfless act that can improve or save the life of a person with advanced or end-stage kidney disease.

For these sick individuals, there are only three treatment options:

  1. Dialysis,
  2. Kidney transplant from a deceased donor, or
  3. Kidney transplant from a living donor.

With dialysis, a machine is used to artificially clean the blood, doing the work of a healthy kidney. It’s time-consuming and exhausting, as frequent as three times a week for up to four hours each session. While a patient can remain on dialysis for many years, it’s not a cure for kidney disease. In fact, ten percent of patients on dialysis die each year while waiting for a kidney transplant. For some groups, such as elderly patients and patients with diabetes, there is an even greater risk of dying.

A kidney transplant is the preferred treatment option for patients with end-stage kidney disease. But the demand for kidneys from deceased donors is greater than the number available – which means patients can wait years for a kidney transplant, often growing weaker while waiting.

The best and fastest option for a patient in need of a kidney transplant is to receive a kidney from a living donor.


Help your loved one find a living kidney donor. Be a Donor Champion and be their voice!

There is an enormous physical and emotional toll of living with end-stage kidney disease, not to mention the exhaustion of dialysis treatment.

So it is not a surprise that finding a living donor can be overwhelming. In fact, the conversation is so difficult more than half of all people in need of a kidney transplant do not even ask one person to donate!

Take this burden off your loved one and spread the word for them to help identify potential living donors.


Identify a Living Donor Champion

Identify a Living Donor Champion

To be a Donor Champion, you will first need the approval of your loved to publicly share their need for a kidney transplant with others. You will also need to be willing to:

  • Learn about the kidney donation process
  • Spread the word on social media, in social groups and in everyday conversations
  • Serve as the point of contact for anyone requesting more information about donating to your loved one and direct them to Ohio State's living donor questionnaire

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