Kidney donation for people with kidney stones

Can I donate a kidney if I have kidney stones?

Each transplant center has its own rules about who can donate. Usually, you can’t be a kidney donor if you:

  • Currently have symptoms of kidney stones
  • Have passed kidney stones repeatedly in the past

You may be able to donate if you passed 1 stone a long time ago and don’t have any current symptoms of kidney stones.

Tell your doctor if you:

  • Have had kidney stones
  • Might have had kidney stones, but it wasn’t clear what happened

How do I find out if I have kidney stones?

During your evaluation, your doctors will use imaging tests (such as a CT scan) to see if you have any kidney stones that aren’t causing symptoms.

If you have kidney stones but no symptoms, your doctors may do extra tests to:

  • Learn more about the stones
  • Measure your chance of getting more stones in the future
  • Decide if it’s safe for you to be a donor

If I have small kidney stones and no symptoms when I donate, will I get more kidney stones later?

In one study, people who had small kidney stones but no symptoms when they donated a kidney had a 0-2% chance (2 in 100, or less) of getting more kidney stones after 2 years. This is much less than non-donors who have small kidney stones but no symptoms – these people have a 25% chance (1 in 4) of getting kidney stones.

Some doctors think kidney donors have fewer problems with kidney stones because the donation screening keeps out people who are more likely to get kidney stones again.

How does kidney donation affect chances of getting kidney stones?

There doesn’t seem to be a big effect. In one study, kidney donors and healthy non-donors had about the same:

  • Need for surgery for kidney stones
  • Hospital visits for kidney stones
  • Medical treatment for kidney stones

What are kidney stones?

Kidney stones are small mineral pieces, like stones, that form in your kidneys. Your body may get rid of them or “pass” them into your bladder, which can cause pain.

Learn more about kidney stones and treatment at:



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  7. Thomas SM, Lam NN, Welk BK, et al. Risk of kidney stones with surgical intervention in living kidney donors. American journal of transplantation : official journal of the American Society of Transplantation and the American Society of Transplant Surgeons. Nov 2013;13(11):2935-2944.
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Note: This information is the opinion of the Living Donor Community of Practice (LDCOP) of the American Society of Transplantation. The LDCOP is a group of health care professionals and researchers who specialize in living kidney donation. The LDCOP’s recommendations are meant to offer you helpful information, but you may find opinions from other groups or organizations that are helpful to you, too.

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Last Updated: 
January 23, 2018