How do I go about donating a kidney?
If you are considering donating a kidney altruistically, or would simply like to talk to someone for further information, the best thing to do is to contact the Living Donor Co-ordinator Nursing Team in your closest kidney transplant centre. Every kidney transplant centre in the UK has a team like this who will be able to help you with your enquiries. You will be able to discuss the arrangements that can be made for you to be assessed as a donor in your local area and proceed to donation if you are suitable and wish to do so.
You can contact any transplant centre, but it is a good idea to start with the one that is closest to where you live, as it is likely to be more convenient for you to attend appointments locally.
If you would like to discuss the possibility of donating a kidney before you contact a transplant centre, you can contact Give a Kidney – one’s enough. Click here to contact us.
Who can give?
In England, Wales and Northern Ireland anyone can give a kidney as long as they are found to be physically and psychologically suitable.
No minimum age limit is specified under the Human Tissue Act 2004, but most donors will be over the age of 18 years. Children are considered only in exceptional circumstances, and donation from them would require court approval.
In Scotland people over 16 years of age can be legally considered as living kidney donors.
Assessing your suitability as a donor
The assessment procedure can take anything from three to 18 months and involves a whole series of blood tests, scans and physical and psychological assessments.
If you are considered physically and psychologically healthy, you will then see an assessor from the Human Tissue Authority. The assessor’s job is to make sure that you have fully understood all the implications of giving a kidney and that you are not being paid to donate (which is illegal) or being put under pressure to do so. They will also ask you to prove your identity.
The transplant service will then match you to a suitable recipient on the national kidney waiting list. You will not be able to choose whom the kidney is given to or to put any limitation on who receives the kidney.
After your operation, your kidney will be taken away immediately for transplantation at the earliest possible time. If the recipient lives at a considerable distance, the kidney is likely to be flown to its destination.
The doctors at your hospital may be able to tell you how the recipient is progressing with your kidney, but you will not be told their identity. After a while, you may be able to write an anonymous letter to the recipient, and they may write back to let you know how they are doing.
A full list of transplant centres and contact telephone numbers is given on the NHS Blood and Transplant website www.organdonation.nhs.uk. If you do not know the centre that is closest to you, you can email your enquiry to NHS Blood and Transplant and they will be able to guide you. The table below (updated September 2012) may also help you to work out which transplant centre covers your area of the country.
|Northern Ireland||Belfast City Hospital||02890 263921||02890 329241|
|West of Scotland||Glasgow Royal Infirmary||0141 211 2148/1750||0141 2112000|
|East of Scotland||Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh||0131 242 1703||0131 2421000|
|South Wales||University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff||029 2074 6432||029 20747747|
|North Wales and North West England||Royal Liverpool University Hospital
Manchester Royal Infirmary
|0151 706 5880
0161 276 5083/4656
|Isle of Man||Royal Liverpool University Hospital||0151 706 5880||0151 7062000|
|North East England and Yorkshire||Freeman Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne
St James’s University Hospital, Leeds
Northern General Hospital, Sheffield
|0191 223 1218
0113 206 6601
0114 271 5983
|The Midlands||Nottingham City Hospital
Leicester General Hospital
University Hospital Coventry
Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham
|0115 9691169 ext. 59405
024 7696 7750/7790
0121 371 5843/5845
|Cambridgeshire and East Anglia||Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge||01223 596177
|Oxfordshire and Berkshire||Churchill Hospital, Oxford||01865 226107||01865 741841|
|London – West
|West London Renal Transplant Centre, Hammersmith||020 3313 5322||0203 3131000|
|London – East
|The Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel||0203 594 1751/2|
|London – North||Royal Free Hospital, Hampstead||020 7317 7604||020 77940500|
|London – South West
Surrey and Sussex
|St George’s Hospital, Tooting||0208 725 1035/0745||0208 6721255|
|London – South East
|Guy’s Hospital, Southwark||020 7188 5688/5705||020 71887188|
|South West-Central England, Isle of Wight||Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth||0239 228 6000 ext. 1055/56||0239 2886000|
|South West England||Southmead Hospital, Bristol
Derriford Hospital, Plymouth
|0117 323 6380/5228
01752 439 955
|Channel Islands||Guy’s Hospital, Southwark||020 7188 5688/5705||020 71887188|