What is living donation?

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. 

Why do we need living donation?

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.

Different kinds of living donation

If you know someone who needs a transplant and you wish to donate to them that is called directed kidney donation.

Find out more on being a living donor here (pdf)

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.

Find more information on being a non-directed altruistic kidney donor here (pdf)

Sometimes if you are not a suitable 'match' to a person in directed donation you can donate to someone else and another person can donate to your intended recipient, this is called paired/pooled donation. 

Find more information on paired/pooled donation here (pdf)


Read more stories of living donation here.

What do I do if I want to be a living donor?

If you have read the information on our website and are interested in knowing more about living donation, you can  contact a transplant centre directly to talk to the living donor team.

Click here for contact details of your nearest living kidney donation centre (pdf)

Click here for contact details of your nearest living liver donation centre (pdf)

Read more details about living donation here.