Medical Specialties

Types of Kidney Donors


Living Donor Kidney Transplants Saves Lives at Phoenix Children's Hospital

The Pediatric Kidney Transplant Program at Phoenix Children's includes living donor and deceased donor kidney transplantation.

Living-donor kidney transplantation allows an individual to donate one of their two healthy kidneys to someone whose kidneys have failed.

A living donor can be a family member or friend who is over 18 years old. The donor is tested, and must be healthy enough to donate a kidney to your child. The donor does not need to be related to your child, but relatives will have a higher likelihood of matching your child's tissue type.

A deceased donor is someone who has suddenly died and whose family has donated his or her organs for transplantation. Your child is placed on a waiting list until he or she comes near the top of the list, and a kidney that is right for your child becomes available from a deceased donor. As long as your child is not actively having infections or other acute medical problems, the transplant is scheduled in the next four to 48 hours.

What's the difference between getting a kidney from a living donor and a deceased donor?

No matter where the kidney comes from, the testing before surgery, and the surgery itself, are the same.

The difference is when the transplant is done.

When the kidney comes from a living donor, the surgery is scheduled at a time that is good for both the recipient and donor. This gives you and your family time to plan ahead.

When the kidney comes from a deceased donor, the recipient is placed on a waiting list. When a matching kidney becomes available, your child will be called to come to the hospital for surgery. We won't be able to tell you when the transplant will be until you get the call to come to the hospital.

Is it better to have a living donor kidney transplant?


  • Living donor kidneys last longer than kidneys from deceased donors.
  • A kidney from a living donor goes from the recipient to the donor in less time than a kidney from a deceased donor. The kidney spends less time outside of a body.
  • Living donor kidneys usually work right away after the transplant, while deceased donor kidneys may not work as well in the beginning.

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