Important Information to Know During Our Campus Transformation — Read More

Living Donor Program

About The Living Donor Program

Living Kidney Donation is when a person donates one of their kidneys to another person. A donor can be family members, relatives, friends, teachers, coaches, or a good Samaritan. Rady Children’s Hospital has partnered with the leading living kidney transplant center in San Diego at the University of California San Diego. Collaboratively with UCSD, donors undergo a thorough evaluation before a kidney transplant and work with a multidisciplinary team including doctors, nurses, social workers, dietitians, and living donor advocates.

Can I Be a Donor?

To be a living donor you must fit all of the qualifications below:

  1. 21 years or older some centers will take 18-year-old donors with careful consideration.
  2. Willing to donate on your own free will and knowing the full risks and complications.
  3. Negative pregnancy test.
  4. Complete medical, surgical, and psychological evaluation.
  5. Your body mass index (BMI) a calculation of your weight and height must be below 35.

Living vs Deceased Kidney Donation

Kidney transplants from living donors have multiple advantages over transplants from deceased donors. On average the kidney from a living donor can last 15-20 years.

  • A living donation between family members who have similar genetics means less chance of rejection.
  • Typically, a kidney from a living donor usually shortens the hospital stay for the recipient.
  • Living donors can be scheduled and planned in advance for living donation.
  • Patients may receive a transplant before initiating dialysis treatment.

Types of Kidney Donations

Directed: A donor chooses a person such as a child, family member, or friend. The donor and recipient must have compatible blood to complete the transplant.

Non-Directed: A donor gives their kidney to a stranger. This is called an altruistic or good Samaritan donation and is an amazing and selfless gift to give to another.

Paired Donation: This is an option for a donor who would like to donate their kidney to a specific person but is not blood type compatible. They are still able to donate and help their loved ones through paired donations. They donate their kidney to another recipient who has an incompatible donor and they are paired.

Voucher Donation: A Donor can gift a voucher through the donation of their kidney to a loved one and then the voucher is given to the recipient, and they have prioritization to receive a living donor kidney through the National Kidney Registry.

Donor Evaluation

We encourage anyone who is interested in being a living donor to complete the confidential online application.

The team of living donor advocates at UCSD Medical Center will review your answers to determine if you are a possible donor and contact you to schedule your health screening.

Once approved your evaluation at UCSD will consist of blood, urine, and ultrasound tests will consist of blood, urine, and ultrasound tests. You will have a full evaluation with the living donor team. In addition, you will need to receive routine care such as a Pap test, mammogram, or colonoscopy. During the evaluation period, you will be provided with a Care Navigator who will assist you through work-up completion.

UCSD logo

I Want To Donate!

If you are interested in being a living donor, you can start the process today by providing your health history.

  1. Complete the questionnaire online.
  2. Or call 858-657-7729 and we can assist you.

Health History Questionnaire

Preparing for Kidney Transplant Surgery

Living donor surgery is a laparoscopic surgery, which consists of smaller incisions. This shortens recovery time and the need for strong pain medications. Be prepared to take six weeks off of work or school. To recover from surgery fully, you may not lift more than 10 lbs. Your Care Navigator will assist in preparing and educating you about self-care after surgery.

Contact Information

If you have any questions, please reach out to our Living Donor Coordinator below:

Whitney Burns, RN
Phone: 858-966-4953

Financial Resources

COST: UCSD provides information on programs that may financially assist donors.

Donor Shield Benefits:

National Donor Assistance Center:

Transplant Education Resources

UNOS | United Network for Organ Sharing | US Organ Transplantation

Donate Life America

The National Kidney Foundation