Recovering after donating a kidney

Leaving hospital and your post donation aftercare

During your time in hospital after donating a kidney, you will meet a range of healthcare professionals who will advise you on your short and long term follow up.

Please ensure you have discussed the points covered on this page with your team before you leave hospital.

It is very important that you make a safe and full recovery from your surgery.

Before you leave hospital

A mother smiling at her young daughter from her hospital bed

Before you leave hospital, make sure you have discussed:

  • Pain management and medication
  • Wound management and dressings
  • Thrombo-embolism prophylaxis (reducing risk of blood clots)
  • Constipation/bloating/diet
  • Exercise and rehabilitation
  • In-patient medical certificate
  • Letter for General Practitioner
  • Someone to take you home and stay with you
  • Follow up appointment

When you return home

We always recommend having someone stay with you for the first few days you are home.

Your family and friends are your second pair of eyes and ears so please listen to them if they are concerned about you.

Make sure you know how to contact your team or the appropriate emergency services.

A mother and son hugging

 We must be aware if you have:

  • High temperature or fever
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • New pain in your tummy or lower back
  • Ooze or redness around any of your wounds or if they are hot to touch
  • Discomfort or burning when passing urine or cloudy or smelly urine

If you have anything else that is concerning you or that you are unsure about, please speak to us.


A GP in consultation with a patient

You will usually be seen for a surgical review within four to eight weeks of your operation.

All living kidney donors are offered lifelong follow up. This is an annual appointment, either at the hospital, with your GP or virtual.

Please discuss with your transplant team and/or local unit to find out which follow up arrangements are available for you.

Kidney function

You should be aware that the creatinine level in your blood may be higher and the estimated GFR (eGFR) after donation will be lower. This is perfectly normal. 

Get more information about kidney function tests for living donors

Download our factsheet

Most areas in the UK have an alert system, which flags up eGFR of <60mls/min.

It is very important for you to be aware that previous kidney donors are NOT included in this group as you do NOT have chronic kidney disease.

Your GFR is lower due to having a single kidney and the remaining kidney is perfectly healthy.

Taking care of yourself after your donation

Thank you

Whether you have donated to a close relative or friend, or anonymously into the kidney sharing scheme, your gift changes lives.

If you have donated as a non-directed altruistic donor or within the UK living kidney sharing scheme you will not know who received your kidney.

You may receive a written thank you from your recipient, but often this is some time after the transplant.

Some people may never write because they find it difficult to know what to say. Your gift of donation is, nonetheless, always appreciated.