Kidney Transplant Transplant Services



It takes a special person to serve as a kidney donor for a family member or friend. At Stanford Hospital & Clinics, we look at donors as heroes, and we treat you like one. It's up to you as a donor candidate to contact the Living Donor Patient Care Coordinator. You'll complete a screening form over the phone that will consist of your demographic information and medical history. After an MD has reviewed the form you will be contacted with further instructions.

Part of a Growing Group

Kidney transplantation from living donors has become more common in recent years, in part because of advances in surgical techniques by dedicated transplant teams like those at Stanford.

But the higher number of living donors is also due to the fact that the waiting period for organs from deceased donors is now measured in years. Therefore, more and more frequently, prospective recipients' loved ones are donating a kidney of their own. As a result, live-donor kidney transplants have tripled over the last 15 years. Of the 16,000 kidney transplants performed in 2008, more than 6,600 came from live donors. So you definitely wouldn’t be alone in serving as a donor.

Starting the Process

Because of certain legal and ethical restrictions, Stanford Hospital & Clinics is not permitted to initiate the process of you becoming a kidney donor. While the recipient can provide us with the name or names of potential donors, it’s up to you as a donor candidate to contact a Living Donor Coordinator in the Kidney Transplant Clinic to get the process started. You’ll be sent a basic form to fill out, which will serve as an initial evaluation until you come to the Clinic for your in-person evaluation.

Or you can download the form here, fill it out and fax it to the Living Donor Coordinator at 650-723-3997 to begin the evaluation process.

Download initial evaluation form now

Donor Candidacy Evaluation

The first step in preparing you to donate a kidney is to determine whether you’re a compatible donor. You’ll undergo a thorough evaluation to determine compatibility and ensure your safety. If the evaluation finds you to be an incompatible donor, there are still options available for donation, such as paired or chain transplantation.

Preparation for Transplant

There is very little involved for donors before donation. There are no special courses of treatment you need to go through prior to surgery like the donor does. You’ll be scheduled to arrive at the hospital a day prior to surgery, along with the kidney recipient, to undergo one final evaluation. Normally, you stay in the same unit with the recipient the night before surgery.

The Surgical Procedure

Advances in medical technology in recent years have led to increasingly less invasive procedures for kidney donors.  More often than not, donor kidneys are removed using laparoscopic techniques.

During laparoscopic surgery, your physician makes a series of small incisions in your lower abdomen and inserts the laparoscope – a tiny tube with a light and a camera – to access the kidney. Your doctor navigates and inspects the region on a TV-like monitor that receives images from the camera. The laparoscope images are magnified when they appear on the monitor, allowing your doctor to see even greater tissue detail than he would during traditional surgery.

The major advantage of laparoscopic kidney surgery is that your doctor can now perform the same surgeries that used to require large open incisions with just a few tiny incisions about the size of a dime, and an 8 centimeter incision below your belly button. This reduces pain and scarring, and significantly reduces the length of your hospital stay and the time it takes for you to recover from surgery.

Care after Transplant

After surgery, you and the recipient stay in separate units. Your hospital stay is normally three to five days and we strongly encourage you to have visitors.

Upon discharge from the hospital, we arrange a follow-up appointment for one week after you go home. This outpatient visit focuses on issues of ongoing wound healing and pain management. But within a few weeks, you should be able to return to normal activities and see no changes in your life.

Learning more

Stanford Hospital & Clinics provides extensive online resources of general health information. The links below can give you helpful information about kidney disorders. 

Professional Resources

There are also numerous organizations that provide detailed information about kidney diseases and transplantation. Here is a sampling of the most prominent.

Stanford Medicine Resources:

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