Kidney Donor & Transplant

Living donor kidney transplant is the first line treatment option for kidney failure, and makes up about half of the more than 200 kidney transplants we perform each year at Houston Methodist.


Here are five reasons we encourage all patients to identify living kidney donors:


1. No dialysis. People with kidney failure can avoid dialysis or reduce dependency on it with a living donor — and with a life expectancy more than two times longer than those on long-term dialysis. We provide expedited evaluation for these patients, and get them transplanted quickly.


2. It’s safe for the donor. Thousands of living donor transplants are performed successfully each year. There is no increased risk for living donors to experience kidney disease in the future, and living donors actually have a slightly higher survival rate than the general public.


3. Living donor kidneys last longer. Patients with living donors have better outcomes, with their transplants lasting twice as long as deceased donor transplants.


4. Eliminate the wait. A living kidney donor allows the health care team to plan for surgery, often reducing the waiting time to months rather than years.


5. Save more lives. A living donor transplant frees up the chance for someone else to receive a lifesaving kidney from a deceased donor on the national waiting list.


Who can be a living donor?

Almost any adult can be considered for living kidney donation, provided he or she is in good health. While most are direct donors giving to a family member, loved one or acquaintance, some people become altruistic, or good Samaritan, donors by giving a kidney to anyone on the waiting list who is a match. 


At Houston Methodist, our goal is to ensure our living donors' health, safety and interests at all times. Living donors receive extensive education, undergo complete medical and psychosocial evaluations, and are assigned an independent living donor advocate to prioritize their needs.


Kidney swaps: making the most of donation

Paired donation kidney transplants, or kidney swaps or chains, are initiated by one willing donor and ultimately can save the lives of at least two patients in need. 


This chain of events can start in a number of ways:


  • A living donor is not a match for his or her intended recipient
  • A living donor is a match for his or her donor, but may be a better match for someone who doesn’t have a compatible donor
  • A living donor has no intended recipient, but wants to donate to someone in need


In all scenarios, every recipient involved receives the lifesaving kidney transplant they need.


To maximize every living donation and help as many people as possible, Houston Methodist participates in several national paired donation programs and operates an internal matching program using advanced software.