Living kidney donation is increasing because of prolonged waiting times on the transplant list, as well as improved outcomes for recipients. In 2001, the number of living donors surpassed the number of deceased donors; this trend likely will continue with ever-increasing margins. Because of this increase, as well as changes in our society's health, it is time to re-review the guidelines for selecting living kidney donors established by Kasiske et al in 1995. A conference will be held this year to review updated literature on medical conditions that impact on renal health. From this, new guidelines for the medical evaluation of living renal donors will be constructed. This review discusses information known to date on the outcomes of individuals undergoing unilateral nephrectomy, the impact of lifestyle on renal function in the setting of nephrectomy, and advancements in the detection of genetically transmitted renal diseases that impact on today's decisions on living donation.