Living donor transplants

Kidney transplant service

Most people can live a normal life with only 1 of their 2 kidneys. Some choose to donate one of their kidneys and this is called living kidney donation.

During a living donor kidney transplant, the kidney is removed from the donor (a nephrectomy) and transplanted into the recipient.

We remove the donated kidney using keyhole (also known as laparoscopic) or robotic techniques. 

We perform all living kidney donor surgery for the 2 kidney transplant centres in London.

Donating a kidney

If you'd like to donate a kidney to someone you know, your blood group and tissue type needs to be compatible with theirs.

If you're incompatible with your chosen recipient, you can choose to pair with 1 or more incompatible donors and recipients. If we find a pair you're compatible with, each donor can donate their kidney to the other donor's recipient. Each recipient can receive a compatible kidney that they otherwise wouldn't have had. 

When 2 pairs do this, it is known as a 'paired' donation.

When more than 2 pairs do this, it is known as a 'pooled' donation.

None of the donors know the person who receives their kidney and recipients will not know the person who donates their kidney.


You may want to donate a kidney to someone you don't know. This is called non-directed or altruistic kidney donation. We're one of the main centres in the UK for this.

Your appointment

If you'd like to be a living kidney donor, please:

Your first appointment will be face-to-face. Your follow-up appointments may be:

You'll be given a living donor nurse coordinator.

They'll talk with you and organise some tests to see if you're able to donate a kidney. These may be before or after your appointment with a kidney doctor (nephrologist) or a transplant surgeon.

You'll see a kidney doctor and a transplant surgeon. They'll talk to you in more detail about donating your kidney.

We'll examine you and you may have routine tests, such as blood tests.

Appointments usually last 1 hour.

We're a teaching hospital and sometimes students will be at your appointment to observe. We'll ask you if you're happy for them to be there. It will not affect your care if you prefer not to have them there.

If you're having a paired or pooled donation, all the donor operations are usually scheduled at the same time on the same day.

In exceptional circumstances, we may stagger the operations for practical reasons. If this is the case, your transplant team will talk to you about it.

We'll send you a copy of your appointment letters.

We'll also write to your GP and any other specialists you see. This is to tell them about your plan to donate and to request copies of your medical records. We'll ask you to sign a form to consent to this information being released to our living donor team.

If you need more tests or appointments your living donor coordinator will arrange them.

Last updated: 21 September 2022

Contact us


Lead nurse for living donation: 020 7188 5688

Appointment queries: 020 7188 8820

Clinic reception: 020 7188 7922

Clinic letter and test result queries: 020 7188 5708

Email: [email protected]

Address; kidney clinic, 4th floor, Tower Wing, Guy's Hospital, Great Maze Pond, London SE1 9RT

We're open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

Do you have any comments or concerns about your care?

Contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

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