Kidneys are the most commonly donated organs by living people, and about a third of all kidney transplants carried out in the UK are from living donors.
A healthy person can lead a normal life with only one functioning kidney and therefore they are able to donate the other to help someone in need of a kidney transplant.
When someone needs a kidney transplant, their family and friends will often offer to be their donor. If they aren’t a suitable match they can be registered in the UK Living Kidney Sharing Scheme, opening up more transplant opportunities.
When two pairs are involved, it is called a ‘paired’ donation. More than two pairs is known as a ‘pooled’ donation.
People who choose to donate a kidney to a stranger can trigger a chain of transplants through the scheme. That is, when someone decides to donate anonymously as an altruistic donor to a recipient on the national waiting list, an altruistic donor chain begins under the UK Living Kidney Sharing Scheme. The donated kidney is allocated to a recipient in the paired or pooled scheme. In turn, the donor registered with that recipient donates to someone else, and so on.
The chain ends when the last donor donates to a recipient who isn’t part of the paired or pooled scheme.
For more information on the work of the transplant team at the Belfast City Hospital, or to talk about your options for living donation, visit Donate Life.
Share your decision
Whatever you decide, it’s important to make sure your donation decision is known to your family and friends