Living donor practices in the United States

Adv Chronic Kidney Dis. 2012 Jul;19(4):212-9. doi: 10.1053/j.ackd.2012.04.010.


Living kidney donation is a common procedure in the United States. Substantial variation exists between transplant centers in their protocols and exclusion criteria for potential living donors. In the absence of clinical trial data to guide decisions about exclusion criteria, knowledge of current practices is an important first step in guiding the formulation of donor protocols and future studies. Certain trends in living donation practices have become apparent from surveys of transplant programs over the past few decades. Over the past 25 years, opposition to living unrelated donation in the United States has gone from strong to essentially nonexistent. With respect to donor age, programs have become less strict regarding upper age limits but stricter regarding younger donor candidates. Protocols regarding kidney function, blood pressure, and diabetes screening also continue to evolve. Although donor follow-up is mandated by the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network for 2 years after donation, a majority of donors are lost to follow-up by 1 year. The most commonly cited barriers to donor follow-up include donor inconvenience, cost issues including reimbursement to care providers, and direct and indirect costs to donors. In this article, we review the current knowledge about living donor practices in the United States.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Donor Selection / standards*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Transplantation / standards*
  • Living Donors*
  • Lost to Follow-Up
  • Standard of Care
  • United States
  • Unrelated Donors*