Living organ donation

Living donation involves giving an organ and/or a tissue to someone who needs a transplant. Most donors are:

  • family members
  • friends
  • someone you do not know

Become a living donor

Before you can become a living donor, we:

  • will carefully assess you to make sure that it is safe for you to donate
  • the organ is suitable for the person receiving it

Donations while alive


  • Kidneys are the most common organ donated by a living person.
  • A healthy person can lead a normal life with one working kidney


  • Donate part of your liver as a living person - this is less common than living kidney donation

Altruistic kidney donation

Non-directed altruistic kidney donation is when you volunteer to give a kidney to someone you do not know. To become a non-directed altruistic kidney donor, you must be:

  • over 18 years old for England, Wales and Northern Ireland
  • over 16 years old for Scotland

How we can help

  • We will assess you at the transplant centre near you
  • If you are a suitable donor, you will be further assessed by an Independent Assessor (IA) for the Human Tissue Authority (HTA)
  • If approved by the HTA, you will be registered as a donor

Before you are registered, you will have a chance to "opt out" of the altruistic donor chain scheme, if you wish.

Directed altruistic donation

Directed altruistic donation is when you offer to donate your kidney or part of your liver to someone you don’t know, who needs a transplant.

How to become a living donor

To find out more about being a living donor for someone on the NHS waiting list:

The nurses will be able to guide you through the process and answer your questions. Making a phone-call does not commit you to making a donation and there will be no pressure for you to continue.

Further information