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Living donation

Across the UK, more than 1,000 people each year donate a kidney or part of their liver while they are still alive to a relative, friend or someone they do not know.

The most commonly donated organ by a living person is a kidney. A healthy person can lead a normal life with only one functioning kidney and therefore they are able to donate the other to help someone in need of a kidney transplant. Part of a liver can also be transplanted from a living donor to help someone in need of a liver transplant.

Why do we need more living organ donors?

In the UK, around 5,000 people are in need of a kidney transplant to transform their lives, and hundreds of patients die each year waiting for a transplant due to a shortage of organ donors.

The average waiting time for a kidney transplant from someone who has died is more than two and a half years. For some ethnic groups and people for whom it is difficult to find a compatible donor, the wait is even longer. Sadly, some people die waiting. 

What can I donate?

Different kinds of living organ donation

Donating a kidney or part of your liver to a close relative (such as a family member), partner or good friend, is called directed altruistic donation. If you've read the information above and watched the living donation films, take the next step by contacting your nearest transplant centre:

Donating a kidney or part of your liver to someone with whom you have no previous existing relationship is called non-directed altruistic donation. If you've read the information above and watched the living donation films, register your interest in altruistic donation using these forms:

If you are not a suitable 'match' for someone you wish to donate to, it may be possible for you to join a sharing scheme and be matched with another donor recipient pair in the same situation and for the donor kidneys to be 'exchanged' or 'swapped'.

Interested in becoming a living tissue donor?

You can donate bone or part of your placenta by contacting:

Read more about bone and placenta donation.

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