Living Donors - The Gift of Life

Today, living organ donation is a viable option for many transplant patients, yet the number of people waiting for a transplant far exceeds the number of donors. There are many benefits for both the donor and the recipient, such as improved health and better quality of life.

Become a Living Kidney Donor

Make a difference in someone’s life by becoming a live kidney donor, learn more about how to apply and the living kidney donation process.
  • Apply

    Complete an online candidate profile.

  • Download Brochure

    Learn about the living kidney donation process and what to expect.

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Benefits of Living Donation

There are many benefits to becoming a living donor. One of the most obvious benefits is that you can save a life, or drastically improve the quality of life for the recipient. Long-term survival is markedly improved among patients who receive a donor kidney compared with patients who remain on dialysis. When a recipient has a living donor, the wait time for transplant is shorter and the transplant can be scheduled. This allows for donations to take place when the recipient is in good health and when it is convenient for both the donor and the recipient, such as summer vacation or winter break.

Live organs that are transplanted last longer than cadaveric organs, and live organs begin to function more quickly than cadaveric donations. This helps ease the process for the recipient, and frees up a cadaveric kidney for another recipient.

Occasionally in life there are those moments of unutterable fulfillment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words. Their meanings can only be articulated by the inaudible language of the heart.

Pamela Paulk, kidney donor

Types of Living Donation

There are two main types of living kidney donation: directed and non-directed.

Kidney Donor Protections

Donors who undergo kidney donation surgery at The Johns Hopkins Hospital will qualify for the following support and protections through the National Kidney Registry:

  • Lost wage reimbursement up to $2,000 per week for up to six weeks while they recover from the donation surgery
  • Travel and lodging reimbursement up to $5,000 in expenses for themselves and a caregiver
  • Financial protection for complications that ensures donors are never responsible to pay for a post-surgical complication that is a direct result of their kidney donation
  • Legal representation should a donor’s employment, health or life insurance be negatively affected by living donation
  • Donor Connect the option for every donor candidate to speak with a living kidney donor who can answer questions, offer insights, and provide education based on their own kidney donation experience

More Facts

Living donors also need a strong support system to rely on for emotional and physical needs during recovery.

The donation of any organ by a living person must be completely voluntary. Donors should be free from any pressure or guilt associated with the donation and cannot be paid for their donation. In 1984, the U.S. Congress passed the National Organ Transplant Act, which made it illegal to buy or sell organs.

What to Expect as a Living Donor

As with any surgery, it is also important to be aware of the risks associated with kidney donation. Your team can even connect you to a donor mentor – someone who has done what you are about to do and can share their personal experience with you.

Tips for Your Journey to Find a Living Kidney Donor

Learn how you can find a living kidney donor by downloading our guide in either English or Spanish.

Pamela Paulk's Kidney Donation Story

Learn how Pamela Paulk, the former president of Johns Hopkins Medicine International, helped make a difference in the life of a co-worker through kidney donation.

The Johns Hopkins Kidney Transplant Program

Our comprehensive center provides advanced treatment for kidney care, learn more about our programs.