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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​When You Need a Kidney Transplant

When you are facing serious kidney disease or kidney failure and transplantation is an option, you probably have many questions. Th​e staff of Baylor Scott & White Health is ready to walk with you through the journey and help you make the best decisions for you and your family.

Kidney Donation Options

There are three potential options to consider when a kidney transplant is needed:

  • A living kidney donation A kidney can be donated by a family member, friend or someone with an emotional tie to the recipient. The donor does not have to be a blood relative to donate or the same race or gender if the necessary blood and tissue typing are compatible.
  • Paired Kidney Donor Program – You and your willing donor may be eligible for the Paired Kidney Donor Program if the donor is not compatible with you. This allows them to donate their kidney to another recipient who was not compatible to their donor, but is compatible with you. Their donor would then donate to you. Baylor Scott & White performed North Texas’ first paired kidney donor transplant. If you are interested in this option, please discuss it with your transplant coordinator.
  • A deceased kidney donation – Patients in need of a kidney transplant can be placed on the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) waiting list for a kidney donated by a deceased person who has indicated their willingness to donate. Currently, there are more than 96,000 people in the UNOS list waiting for a kidney. Deceased kidney donations are allocated based on several factors, including compatibility between the patient and donor and length of time on the waiting list. 

Why consider a living kidney donor transplant?

A kidney donation from a living donor has several advantages for you versus a deceased donation:

  • Better Long-Term Outcomes. Living donor kidneys often last longer in the recipient’s body than deceased donor kidneys. A living kidney is usually a better match and in better condition than a deceased donor kidney.
  • Shorter Wait-Time. You usually receive the transplanted kidney faster than you would a compatible deceased donor organ. The donor and recipient evaluation can be done at the same time to expedite the transplant process.
  • Scheduled Surgery. A living donation is a pre-planned surgery, not a sudden procedure; allowing you to be better prepared both mentally and physically.
  • Quicker Kidney Function. Living kidney donations begin working in the recipient’s body sooner than an organ that has been kept on ice and transported to the hospital. A living donor kidney usually begins working immediately, whereas a deceased donor kidney may take several days or weeks to function properly.
  • Lower Rejection Rate. Living donor kidneys offer a lower rejection rate than one from a deceased donor.
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