Factors influencing the incidence of recurrent glomerulonephritis following renal transplantation are poorly understood. Bilateral pretransplant native nephrectomy has been advocated to reduce the likelihood of recurrence after renal transplant. However, there is significant morbidity of native nephrectomy in the uremic population. Therefore, we sought to determine the effect of pretransplant native nephrectomy on the incidence of recurrent primary glomerulonephritis and the attendant risk of graft failure due to recurrent disease. Three hundred sixty-four consecutive cadaveric (n = 214), living-related (n = 137), and living-unrelated (n = 13) renal transplants were performed in 319 patients with a diagnosis of primary glomerulonephritis. Specific diagnoses included were focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis/idiopathic crescentic glomerulonephritis (RPGN/ICG), IgA nephropathy (IgA), mesangioproliferative glomerulonephritis, type I and II (MPG), anti-glomerular basement membrane nephritis (anti-GBM), and membranous glomerulonephritis (MGN). Rates of recurrence and graft loss were compared between patients treated with bilateral native nephrectomy (n = 61) and those who were not (n = 303). Bilateral nephrectomy did not prevent or delay the onset of recurrent glomerulonephritis in the renal allograft. In fact, there was a significantly increased five- and ten-year risk of recurrence in patients undergoing pretransplant nephrectomy vs. no nephrectomy (25.2% and 42% vs. 13.9% and 19.4%, P < 0.02, respectively). The increased rate of recurrence was evident in the CAD/LUD recipients, but not in recipients of LRD transplants. Of the specific diseases, FSGS and MGN recurred more commonly (20.2% and 20.3%, respectively). A detrimental effect of pretransplant nephrectomy on recurrence rates and incidence of graft loss due to recurrent disease independent of other variables could be demonstrated only for FSGS patients. Based on these findings, we no longer recommend native nephrectomy in the prospective renal transplant recipient at high risk for developing recurrent glomerulonephritis.