Kidney donation – more information


Kidneys are one of the only organs that can be transplanted while the donor is alive, so there are two types of kidney donation: living and deceased. Last year there were 1,043 living donors and 1,413 deceased donors in the UK. Collectively they saved the lives of 4,753 patients.

Living kidney transplantation is usually very successful, with 96% of donated kidneys working well a year after the operation. This compares with a success rate of 93% for kidneys from deceased donors. Living donors choose whether their kidney can be given to anyone in need, or whether a specific person will receive it. These two options are called altruistic (non-directed) donation and directed donation.


Our silent crisis

Last year there were around 5,000 people in the UK are in need of a kidney transplant and across the UK, while more than 250 patients died due to a shortage of organs while waiting for a transplant.

The Black community is facing a particular crisis around kidney transplants, with the number of living donors falling and waiting list numbers rising every year. Read more about the Black community’s kidney transplant crisis.


The directed donation process

If you know the person who you are considering donating to, you can begin the process by contact the hospital/transplant centre where they are cared for. They will give you some further information and begin the process for you if you wish to proceed.

The ACLT can help begin the process for you if you wish. We’ll also support you through every step of the journey, from finding the right transplant centre to the operation and beyond.


The non-directed donation process

The process from first appointment to final appointment usually takes around three months.The ACLT can guide you through every step of this, from finding the right transplant centre to the operation and beyond.

The first step is to sign up. This is done with the support of a transplant centre, who will take your details and begin the process. A list of centres can be found on the NHS website, or you can speak to us to find yours.

  • You will be assigned a transplant coordinator, who will guide you through the process.
  • You’ll then be assessed by an independent assessor to make sure you are not being pressured or paid to go through with the transplant. They will also make sure you understand the risks.
  • You need to go through a series of medical tests to make sure you are healthy enough to donate, and determine your tissue type.
  • You’ll also go through some psychological assessments to make sure you are mentally and emotionally robust enough.
  • When these tests have been carried out, you’ll be given a date for the transplant appointment. This usually takes two or three hours, and is done under a general anaesthetic.
  • After the operation, you’ll usually remain in hospital for three to five days to ensure recovery.
  • When you’re strong enough, you’ll be able to return home. You won’t need to go back to work for around three weeks while your body recovers. Lost earnings during this time can be reclaimed.



If you’re interested in helping this situation, you can request information on donation with no strings attached by joining our Interested Register.