Kidney Care and Transplant Services

Frequently Asked Questions for LKD

How do I get more information about living kidney donation?

Please contact the Living Donor Program at University of Washington Medical Center (UWMC). You can also find information on the Internet and in magazines and books. We’ve put together additional resources in our documents and forms section.

How do I get started?

Just call the living donor phone line at 206-598-3627. We’ll do a brief phone interview and give you some information about the donation process. You’ll also have the opportunity to ask any questions you may have.

How long does the evaluation process take?

The process, from your initial inquiry to potentially being approved as a donor, takes approximately 3–6 months, and depends upon the required tests, the test results and the recipient’s status. We’ve put together a checklist with some further details (link here).

Who pays for living kidney donation?

The Living Donor Program pays for appropriate testing ordered by the program. Please note that the recipient must be cleared financially and medically prior to proceeding with testing. Transportation costs and lost wages are not covered as a part of donation. However, the National Living Donor Assistance Center does provide financial assistance for travel costs. Some people may be eligible for paid leave or disability through their employer. If you have questions about financial assistance, please contact the living donor phone line at 206-598-3627.

Am I a match?

The results of three tests determine your level of match with your intended recipient:

Blood type

You must have a compatible blood type to donate directly to your intended recipient. If your blood types are not compatible, then donation is possible through the donor exchange program.

Crossmatch

A crossmatch combines the recipient’s blood cells and the donor’s blood cells to check for interaction. No interaction, or a negative crossmatch, is needed for transplant. If there is an interaction, or a positive crossmatch, then donation is possible through donor exchange. If there is a negative crossmatch, the evaluation process continues with tissue typing to determine antigen matching.

Tissue Typing

This is a blood test that determines whether your tissue is compatible with your intended recipient. Because of advances in medicine, tissue matching is not as important as it was previously, so people who are not matched for any antigens may still donate with very successful outcomes for the recipient.

Please note that results from these tests can take up to 10–14 business days to be received.

What if I am not a match with my recipient?

If you are not a match with your intended recipient, you may consider participating in donor exchange. We participate in the National Kidney Registry for donor exchange. For more information on donor exchange, visit kidneyregistry.org .

What if I don’t live in the Seattle area?

Initial testing can be done outside of the Seattle area. You will then need to be seen at University of Washington Medical Center for further testing in order to be approved as a donor. You will also need to return to the Seattle area for surgery and recovery.

How long is the recovery?

The length of your stay in the hospital typically varies between two and four days, and will depend on the rate of your recovery and/or complications after surgery. You will meet with the living donor team approximately 9 to 12 days after surgery for a post-operative appointment. Typically, you should be able to return to work within four to six weeks, but you may require longer depending on your job duties and personal recovery. If there are no complications from the surgery, you should be able to return to your normal level of activity within two to three months.

How long will the kidney last for the recipient?

It depends upon a number of factors, including what disease the recipient has, the anti-rejection medication being prescribed and the compliance of the recipient. The average is between 10 and 15 years


What if I do not know someone who needs a kidney transplant?

If you do not have a specific transplant recipient, you can become a non-directed donor and donate anonymously to someone waiting for a transplant at UWMC, at Seattle Children’s Hospital, or through the donor exchange program.