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Living Donor Kidney Transplant

If you have kidney disease that will lead to kidney failure, a kidney transplant might be the best treatment for you. Finding a living donor at an early stage of your kidney disease may allow you to avoid dialysis completely.
People considering a kidney transplant
A kidney transplant from a living donor is the preferred treatment for many people suffering from kidney disease. There are several advantages to a living donor kidney transplant over a deceased donor kidney transplant:
  • Improved success rates
  • Shorter waiting times
  • Surgical date is known in advance (helps with planning)
  • May avoid the need for dialysis (pre-emptive transplant)

What can I expect to happen in each step?

Education about living donor kidney transplant is provided to most patients who attend a Kidney Care Clinic in BC. Learning  about the benefits and risks will help you decide if transplant might be a treatment option you wish to pursue. We suggest you review the following resources.

Patient Resource:

Kidney Transplant from a Living Donor Intro page

For more detailed information, see Step 1: I am learning about living donor kidney transplant

Once you receive education, more screening and testing will be required. Some tests will take more time than others, but the tests are important in making sure you are suitable to receive a living donor kidney transplant.

Your kidney care team will start to talk to you about living donor outreach and the best ways to tell your story to your friends, your family, and your community. It can be challenging to reach out to people about living kidney donation. The resources below can help but it is also important to talk with your kidney care team as they can help to make the process easier.

For more detailed information, see Step 3: I am in the process of looking for a living donor

    Your kidney care team is available to support you through the pre-transplant process. They can help you reach out to potential donors but they are not involved in the donor testing and assessment process. Donor information is confidential therefore even if you know your donor, no information will be shared with you about which donors have registered or where they are at in the process. You will only be notified once a donor has been approved and is ready to move forward. If you have questions, you will be directed to ask your potential donor directly.

    There are many resources that you can provide to potential donors which gives them information about being a kidney donor. 

    If a donor is considering kidney donation, it is important that they contact the donor team at Vancouver General Hospital ( or St. Paul's Hospital ( These donor teams will register potential donors and support them along their process to see if they are suitable to be a kidney donor.

    The following resources may be helpful for you and your potential donor.

    For more detailed information, see Step 4: I may have identified a potential donor

    Vancouver General Hospital or St. Paul's Hospital will review test results that were completed at your local clinic. The results will help them decide whether you are suitable to proceed with the next step on the journey towards living donor kidney transplant. Your kidney care and transplant care teams will provide you with information and support you whether you continue the journey or not. Don't be afraid to reach out to them when you need them.

    For more detailed information, see Step 5: I have been referred to Vancouver General Hospital or St. Paul's Hospital for assessment

    Your transplant team at Vancouver General Hospital or St. Paul's Hospital will determine if you are suitable for a living donor kidney transplant. There may be more testing required depending on your individual circumstances. If you are still asking yourself whether living donor kidney transplant is the best treatment option for you, please discuss with your kidney care team or transplant team, so you are aware of your options and feel confident with the final decision.

    For more detailed information, see Step 6: I am suitable for a living donor kidney transpant


    People considering becoming a living donor

    Living Donation
    Living organ donation is an act of altruism that reduces the wait time for patients in need of a life-saving kidney or liver.
    Living Donor Kidney Program
    There are many reasons why a transplant from a living donor may be the best option for a patient. Transplant outcomes are generally better with kidneys from living donors than for kidneys from deceased donors. With careful planning, a patient can avoid the need for dialysis and go straight to transplant from a living donor. 
    Living donors are often related to the recipient, but they don’t have to be. Living donors can be siblings, parents, children, or relatives. A donor can also be a friend, relative through marriage, co-worker or a member of the recipient’s community.
    Adults in BC, may choose to donate a kidney to someone they know, on behalf of someone they know, or can donate anonymously.

    All living donation is managed through Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) and St. Paul’s Hospital (SPH) Pre-Assessment Transplant Clinics. The process includes:

    If you are considering becoming a kidney donor, you can begin the process by calling Pre-Transplant Services at Vancouver General Hospital or St. Paul’s Hospital. You will be asked to complete a medical and social history questionnaire. If there are no immediate concerns, a blood test will be arranged to check for compatibility between you and the recipient.

    Contact either program directly at:

    Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program -  Kidney 

    Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre
    Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street
    Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

    604.875.5182 or 1.855.875.5182

    St. Paul’s Hospital Living Donor Program - Kidney

    Unit 6A, 6th Floor, Providence Building
    1081 Burrard St.
    Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

    604.806.9027 or 1.877.922.9822

    You will need to do several tests to ensure it is safe for you to donate. Some tests may be done through your family doctor, and most can be done close to your home or workplace, even if you live outside of the province.


    If all your test results are normal and you decide you want to proceed, the next step is to meet the transplant team in Vancouver. This is usually a two-day visit, so that you can meet with various members of the transplant team and complete any required testing.  Once the evaluations and tests are done, the transplant team will determine if you are a suitable donor.‎


    Choosing a surgical date usually requires discussions between the various members of the transplant team.  As the surgical date approaches, you may be asked to repeat certain blood tests.  Following surgery and throughout your life, you will require routine monitoring to make sure you stay healthy living with one kidney.

    Other Living Kidney Donor Resources:
    • What is living kidney donation and can I be a kidney donor?
    • Living Kidney Donation: A Step by Step Process
    • Kidney Foundation: Living Organ Donation
    • Living Donor Mentor Program
    • BC Renal transplant education sessions
    • Living Organ Donation Expense Reimbursement Program (LODERP)
    Living Kidney Donor Testimonials

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    SOURCE: Living Donor Kidney Transplant ( )
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