There are two possible sources for a donated kidney for a transplant: a deceased donor kidney and a living donor kidney.
Deceased Donor Kidney
A deceased donor kidney comes from someone who has died from an accident in which the kidneys are not damaged and remain fully functional or from someone who has died from an illness or disease which does not compromise the kidneys.
Living Donor Kidney
A living donor kidney can come from a related family member such as a brother, sister, parent, or child. A living donor kidney can also come from an unrelated donor such as a spouse, friend or altruistic donor.
Advantages of Living Donor Kidney
There are several advantages a living donor kidney has compared to a deceased donor kidney:
- Closely Matched Donor: Living donation increases the possibility of obtaining a closely matched related donor kidney. In general, the better the match, the better the chances for long-term survival of the transplanted kidney.
- Faster Transplants: A living donor evaluation can be completed in few weeks and the transplant surgery can be scheduled shortly thereafter. This allows the recipient to receive a kidney much sooner than a deceased donor kidney, which has an average wait time of 3 to 4 years.
- Improved Outcomes: Research has shown that the less time spent on dialysis prior to transplantation, the better the outcome in terms of both short and long term function of the transplanted kidney.
- Scheduled Surgery: Having a living donor allows the transplant center and the candidate to schedule the transplant surgery, allowing the patient to prepare for the surgery and post-transplant recovery time.