How living kidney donation can affect pregnancy

If I donate a kidney, what will happen if I get pregnant?

Donating a kidney doesn’t change your ability to get pregnant.

Donating a kidney may make you more likely to have problems during pregnancy than women who haven’t donated a kidney, but most women who get pregnant after donating have no problems with their pregnancy. The most common problem is preeclampsia, which is a type of high blood pressure during pregnancy. 12% of donors had preeclampsia in a later pregnancy in one study.

Doctors need more research to better understand how kidney donation affects pregnancy and giving birth.

What should I do if I may want to donate and become pregnant?

It may be best to donate before becoming pregnant, but it is possible to donate after having a baby.

Here are a few recommendations:

  • Before you donate, talk to your doctor about your plans to donate a kidney and have a baby so they can help you understand your chance of health problems
  • After you donate:
    • Get regular check-ups with your doctors
    • Don’t smoke
    • Exercise and eat healthy foods so you stay at a healthy weight
    • Wait until you are completely healed before you get pregnant. Your doctors can tell you how long you need to wait. 


1.Reisaeter AV, Roislien J, Henriksen T, Irgens LM, Hartmann A. Pregnancy and birth after kidney donation: the Norwegian experience. Am J Transplant. 2009;9(4):820-4. 

2.Ibrahim HN, Akkina SK, Leister E, Gillingham K, Cordner G, Guo H, et al. Pregnancy outcomes after kidney donation. Am J Transplant. 2009;9(4):825-34. 

3.Lam NN, Lentine KL, Levey AS, Kasiske BL, Garg AX. Long-term medical risks to the living kidney donor. Nature reviews Nephrology. 2015;11(7):411-9. 

4.Garg AX, Nevis IF, McArthur E, Sontrop JM, Koval JJ, Lam NN, et al. Gestational hypertension and preeclampsia in living kidney donors. The New England journal of medicine. 2015;372(2):124-33. 

5.LaPointe Rudow D, Hays R, Baliga P, Cohen DJ, Cooper M, Danovitch GM, et al. Consensus conference on best practices in living kidney donation: recommendations to optimize education, access, and care. Am J Transplant. 2015;15(4):914-22.

Note:   The recommendations in these chapters are the opinions of the Living Donor Community of Practice of AST. They are not meant to be prescriptive and opinions by other groups or institutions may be equally valid.

Last Updated: 
January 23, 2018