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Living Kidney Donor Program

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100,000 people across the U.S. – and 150 people at Baystate Medical Center – are waiting for kidney transplants right now.

Our living donor kidney transplant program is helping to make kidney transplants available to those who need them. Each year, about half of our transplants come from living donors. By becoming a living kidney donor, you can give someone a second chance to live.

Register with the National Kidney Registry

Types of Kidney Donors

Related Donors: Donors are blood relatives of the patient receiving the kidney. Relatives can include brothers, sisters, parents, children, aunts, uncles, cousins, or other family members related by blood.

Non-related Donors: Donors are not related by blood. Non-related donors include spouses, in-laws, close friends, and neighbors or friends.

Non-directed Donors: Donors are not related or known by the recipient.

Paired Donors: Two kidney recipients who are incompatible with their donors exchange donors. This way, each recipient can receive a compatible kidney.

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about becoming a living donor, please contact Baystate Medical Center’s transplant program at 413-794-2321.

Kidney Transplant Resources

United Network for Organ Sharing
Donate Life
New England Donation Services
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Statistical Scientific Registry for Transplantation Recipients
National Kidney Foundation

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a living donor kidney transplant?

During a living donor kidney transplant, surgeons take a healthy kidney from the body of living person. The healthy kidney is then placed into the body of a person (the recipient) who needs a kidney. Both the living donor and the recipient can then lead normal, active lives

How common are living donor kidney transplants?

Kidney transplants are the most common living donor transplants. At Baystate Medical Center, about half of our transplants come from living donors.

What are the advantages of being a living donor?

  1. The recipient does not need to wait for an organ on a transplant list, which can take 4 or more years.
  2. The recipient has a chance of getting a transplant before needing dialysis. Dialysis can take a toll on a person’s health, restrict their diet, and cause stress.
  3. Transplant from a living donor means that the kidney is immediately placed into the recipient’s body. This means the kidney goes without a blood supply for only a short time.
  4. The transplant can be scheduled when the recipient and donor are in the best physical and emotional health, which can lead to better outcomes.

What if I want to donate my kidney to someone I know, but I am not a good match?

Baystate Medical Center offers the “paired exchange” option, using the National Kidney Registry and the UNOS Kidney Paired Exchange Program. A paired exchange helps to find another living donor who is compatible.

What is the cost of kidney donation?

There is no cost for donating your kidney. However, the transplant program does not usually cover travel or other non-medical expenses.

Is financial assistance available for donors?

Donating your kidney can come with financial burdens that are not covered by the transplant recipient's health insurance. Expenses can add up, including costs for travel, lodging, child care, and lost wages from missing work. There are financial assistance programs that can help. You can contact social worker Katie Newton at 413-794-2606 with questions about financial help.

Requirements for Financial Assistance

You can apply for financial assistance based on your situation and need. Most programs require applicants to have an income at or below 300% of the federal poverty line

When you apply, you'll need to provide information including:

  • Donor personal information (name, address contact information, citizenship status, and more)
  • Income information
  • Information about accompanying person (if someone is traveling with you)
  • Federal tax return and two most recent pay stubs for all household members who contribute to household income

Help with Travel Expenses

National Living Donor Assistance Center

American Kidney Fund

American Organ Transplant Association

TRIO (Transplant Recipients International Organization)

Live On Organ Donation

Help with Loss of Income & Other Expenses

American Living Organ Donor Fund – Safety Net Project

American Transplant Foundation – Patient Assistance Program

Heal with Love Foundation

Kidney Transplant/ Dialysis Association, Inc. – Patient Assistance Committee

Fundraising for Living Donation Expenses