Living donation is when someone donates one of their organs – usually a kidney - to someone else, whilst they are still alive. Most of us can live perfectly well with only one kidney, and yet nearly all of us have two.
Most often living donors are close relatives or friend of the recipient, but you can still donate an organ to someone you do not know.
You can also donate part of your liver.
Around 5,000 people in the UK are in need of a kidney transplant and across the UK, more than 250 patients died last year waiting for a kidney transplant, due to a shortage of organs.
If you know someone who needs a transplant and you wish to donate to them that is called directed kidney donation.
A living person who anonymously donates one of their kidneys to someone they do not already know is called a non-directed altruistic kidney donor.
Sometimes if you are not a suitable 'match' for someone you wish to donate to you can donate to someone else and another person can donate to your intended recipient, this is called paired/pooled donation and is part of the UK Living Kidney Sharing Schemes
Kidneys are the most common organ donated by a living person. About a third of all kidney transplants carried out in the UK are from living donors.
Living donor liver transplantation has been successfully performed in the UK since 1995.
A liver transplant operation is life saving surgery for patients with end stage liver disease. Find out more about being a living liver donor here Could I be a living liver donor? (pdf)
As a living donor you can donate your bone and amniotic membrane.
To become a living kidney or liver donor:
To become a tissue donor: