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Kids and kidney transplants

If your child has kidney disease, you may be considering a transplant for treatment. We help you understand the process.

A young boy and his mother pose by the Kidney Health mascot

If your child has kidney disease, you may be considering a transplant for treatment.

Treatment options for children with kidney disease vary based on the type of illness, as well as any specific medical conditions that may need to be considered.

To know what’s best for your child, and whether a kidney transplant is a suitable option, speak with your doctor.

Understanding treatment and kidney donor options

If your child has end-stage kidney disease, they will most likely start treatment by undergoing dialysis. Your child will need to keep having dialysis unless they are able to receive a kidney transplant.

Kidney transplants are a good option for children with end stage kidney disease. It frees them from the burden of dialysis which, while lifesaving, can be disruptive to a child's daily life, including school.

It’s important to be mindful that a transplant is treatment, not a cure. To become better informed, reach out to your healthcare team. Should you proceed with a kidney transplant, you can trust they will tirelessly support you with your child with regular checks-ups, medication routines, changes to diet, possible fluid restrictions and mental health services – just to name a few.

If your child is more than two years old, they can receive a kidney transplant from either a living or deceased donor, of any age.

If you’d like to know whether you can donate your kidney to your child, you will need to get tested. Immediate family are likely to be a good match as they will often share the same blood/tissue type.

The kidney transplant process for children

Kidney transplants for children differ to kidney transplants for adults. Your child’s healthcare team is likely to include a more multidisciplinary team (e.g. paediatric specialists) and be more involved to cater to the special needs of parents, carers and siblings during the time.

After surgery, it’s best for your child to limit physical activity. You may also have questions such as:

  • How long will they stay in hospital for?
  • When can they resume schooling?
  • What foods should they eat?
  • How can I help them adjust to a new life?

Everyone is different. For answers that are unique to your child, consult your healthcare team. Peer support and community connections are also extremely valuable.

If you’d like to be connected with a peer support group, either online or in your local area, check out our Kidney Groups page.

You might also like to download our handbook, The Kids Companion on Kidneys.

Download The Kids Companion on Kidneys

We're here to help

Our team of health professionals can help answer your questions about kidney transplants and caring for a child with kidney disease.

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