Icon - Living kidney donation

Living kidney donation

Kidney transplants from living donors now make up around three out of every ten kidney transplants in Australia each year.

Living donors can be:

  • Related: a relative (parent, brother, sister, or adult children), related by blood to the recipient
  • Unrelated but known to the recipient: partner, non-blood relative or friend of the recipient
  • Non-directed kidney donation or altruistic: This is where someone anonymously donates a kidney to a recipient on the transplant waiting list. In this situation the living donor has no say in who receives their kidney. 

Requirements to be a kidney donor

Not everyone is able to be a living kidney donor. Conditions that may prevent you from being a donor include:

  • Diabetes, or an increased risk of developing diabetes in the future
  • High blood pressure,
  • Heart, stroke or breathing problems
  • Being overweight or underweight
  • Smoking
  • Other conditions such as cancer, AIDS, hepatitis, and psychological issues.

Helplful resources

If you’re thinking of becoming a live kidney donor, you may find these videos* and fact sheets helpful to make an informed decision.

To view video, click on any title:

Part 1 - Living Kidney Donation: What you need to know
Part 2 - Living Kidney Donation: What you need to know
Jenny's story on her experience with Live Kidney Donation

*Permission to host these videos has been provided by Queensland Health.

Organ donation fact sheets
Visit our fact sheets page to see our organ donation fact sheets.

Other useful resources
Leave for living organ donors - Commonwealth Department of Health
Information for Living Donors - DonateLife Tissue and Organ Donation Authority

The Australian Paired Kidney Exchange Programme

This scheme, also known as the AKX Programme, is an initiative of the Australian Government’s Organ and Tissue Authority to increase the options for living kidney donation. 

The program helps people seeking a kidney transplant whose potential living donor is unsuitable due to blood group and/or tissue incompatibility.

A computer program is used to search the entire available database of registered recipient/donor pairs and look for combinations where the donor in an incompatible pair can be matched to a recipient in another pair.

If a compatible match is established, by exchanging donors two or more simultaneous transplants can occur. This option is known as paired kidney exchange, or paired kidney donation.

Find out more about the Australian Paired Kidney Exchange Program.

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