Living Donor Toolkit: Resources for Those Considering Living Donation

Living Kidney Donor Medical Toolkit

Welcome to the Living Kidney Donor Medical Toolkit, a series of chapters about specific aspects of living kidney donor evaluation and experience. This toolkit was designed to add to the general information about living donation that you can find on transplant living, or may have received from your transplant center. Individual toolkit chapters address how a specific topic might affect your kidney donation evaluation, candidacy, and experience. For example, one chapter explores whether someone with high blood pressure can be a kidney donor.  Another chapter discusses obesity and kidney donation. There are also chapters on risks of living kidney donation, including long-term outcomes, impact on future pregnancy, and mental health. Not all of the topics will apply to you, and we invite you to choose the chapters of interest to you. Your transplant team will also talk with you about your medical history and kidney donation.



Living donors and the people who support them through the donation may worry about costs, such as:

Loss of pay or employee benefits:

  • Lost wages due to recovery time
  • Missing work from the evaluation
  • Using up vacation, holiday, and sick days
  • Concerns that the employer might not support a person’s absence from work

Insurance and medical costs:

  • Trouble buying disability or life insurance after donating – or paying more for it
  • Uncovered medical costs, which will differ by transplant center and insurance contract.

Daily life needs:

  • Transportation to the transplant center for testing, surgery, and follow-up care
  • Food, housing, and other needs for donation-related visits
  • Paying for family care – child care, elder care, pet care
  • Kidney donation for people with high blood pressure (Hypertension)

    Will high blood pressure affect your living kidney donor evaluation or candidacy?

    What level of high blood pressure is safe to someone’s long-term kidney health, in the context of living donation?

  • Kidney donation for people with kidney stones

    Will a history of passing kidney stones affect your living donor candidacy?

    If small kidney stones are seen during the donor scans, will they mean you can’t be a kidney donor? Do they change your risk? 

  • Kidney donation for people with obesity

    Will obesity affect your living kidney donor evaluation or candidacy?

  • Kidney donation for people with metabolic syndrome

    What is metabolic syndrome and will it affect your living kidney donor evaluation or candidacy?

  • Kidney donation for people with pre-diabetes

    Will having pre-diabetes affect your live donor candidacy?

    If you have pre-diabetes and you do donate, does this change your risk? 

  • Kidney donation for people with blood in their urine (hematuria)

    Will a history of having hematuria (blood in the urine, seen only under a microscope) affect your living donor evaluation or candidacy? 

  • Kidney donation for people at family risk of polycystic kidney disease

    How does one screen a potential living kidney donor at risk for Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD)? 

  • Living kidney donation and possible surgery problems

    What are the risks of surgical complications after laparoscopic kidney donation?

  • Living kidney donation and the chance of kidney failure

    What is the risk of kidney failure (often called "end-stage kidney disease") if you are a living kidney donor?

  • Living kidney donors and mental health

    How will your quality of life be affected by living kidney donation?

    How will your psychosocial (in other words, non-medical) situation affect your living kidney donation evaluation or experience?

    Psychosocial outcomes include your own—and your family’s-- reactions to the donation experience. This includes your quality of life, sense of well-being, mood and emotions, and your roles and work and home.  

  • How living kidney donation can affect pregnancy

    How will kidney donation affect women who would like to become pregnant or have children after donating?

  • Non-directed living kidney donors

    Non-directed donor evaluation and outcomes: How does it compare to “directed” donation?

  • Kidney paired exchange

    What is kidney paired exchange (KPE)?

  • Live Donor Informed Consent Process: Regulatory Guidelines, Challenges, and Considerations in Protecting Donor Voluntariness


  • The Primary Care Provider and the Kidney Donor