Penn Transplant Institute

Living Kidney Donor Transplant Program

According to the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS)1, more than 100,000 people across the United States are listed for a kidney transplant. In the greater Philadelphia region, approximately 5,300 people are waiting for a kidney to become available.

In 2013, thanks to the generosity of donor families and the work of Gift of Life Donor Program, the number of kidney transplants in our area increased 19 percent, from 419 to 494. Unfortunately, because the need is so great, less than 10 percent of those waiting received a deceased donor kidney last year.

With the waiting time for a deceased donor kidney transplant in our area averaging three to five years, live donor kidney transplant is an important way to increase the number of people receiving kidney transplants.

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The Benefits of Living Donation to the Recipient

In addition to reduced waiting times, Penn Transplant Institute's living donor program provides other benefits to the recipient, including:

  • Pre-emptive transplant. Live donor kidney transplantation provides the recipient the opportunity to undergo transplant surgery before the challenging routine of dialysis begins. Research has shown that less time on dialysis means an increased survival rate of the transplanted kidney.
  • Improved long-term survival. Kidneys from a living donor can last up to twice as long as those from a deceased donor.
  • Optimized time of surgery. We can schedule the surgery to ensure the best condition of the recipient and a convenient time for the donor.
  • A faster recovery. Reducing the time the kidney is outside the body increases the quality of the organ and decreases the time it takes for the kidney to function properly.
  • Reduced risk of rejection. On average, there is a reduced risk of rejection with a living donor kidney, especially if a blood relative donates the kidney.

[1] Based on OPTN data as of July 18, 2014.