What will I need to do if I decide to donate my kidney?

You will need to have some tests to find out whether you are healthy enough to donate a kidney and whether you are compatible with your recipient. 

These tests will include:

  • blood tests 
  • heart, lung and kidney checks, and 
  • blood pressure tests. 

You will need to be available on week days to complete most of these tests.

Some of these tests will be carried out at hospital, while others will be done at laboratories.

You won’t have to pay for these tests – they are free for people who want to be donors.

Some of these tests might show you have medical problems you didn’t know about. If this happens, you will be told immediately of any problems and offered appropriate treatment.

These problems could mean it could take longer for the renal transplant team to agree that you can donate your kidney. Sometimes these problems might stop you from donating. 

This can happen at any time. For example, you may be near the end of your tests and find out you can’t donate.

All of these tests will be reviewed by the transplant team to decide if you can donate your kidney.

Even if the tests show that you are healthy enough for surgery but you can’t donate to your recipient because you aren’t compatible, you can still help by joining a programme called the Kidney Exchange

Both you and your recipient will need to join this programme. 

The Kidney Exchange programme works by finding compatible donors and recipients.

Your transplant co-ordinator can give you information about the Kidney Exchange programme.