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Living Kidney Donor

organ_donation     organ_donation2

Give the Ultimate Gift: Become a Living Kidney Donor

At Baystate Medical Center, more than 150 people are waiting for kidney transplants. By becoming a living kidney donor, you can give someone in Western Massachusetts a second chance to live.

Learn more about:

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about becoming a living kidney donor, please call Baystate Medical Center's Transplant Services at 413-794-2321.

Advantages of Living Donations

Benefits to a patient who receives a kidney from a living donor include:

  • A higher rate of successful outcomes
  • A better genetic match, which lessens the risk of rejection
  • Immediate transplantation directly from the donor to the recipient at Baystate Medical Center, so the kidney usually begins working immediately
  • Convenient surgical schedules for both doctor and the recipient.   With a kidney from a deceased donor, recipients are called to come in as soon as possible once a suitable kidney becomes available.

Becoming a Living Kidney Donor

Why donate?

  • When you become a living kidney donor you offer a child or an adult in Western Massachusetts an alternative to waiting on the national transplant list for a kidney from a deceased donor.

Currently, there are well over 1,400 children and adults waiting for kidney transplants in Massachusetts alone.

  • If you make a living kidney donation, you will be donating one of your two healthy kidneys to replace a malfunctioning kidney in another person.  After the transplant surgery, both of you resume normal, active lives.


Deciding whether you want to be a living kidney donor involves careful consideration and can only be made by you without pressure from family, friends, or the recipient.

If you do decide to become a potential donor you must:

  • be 18 years of age or older.
  • have a blood type compatible with the recipient.
  • be genuinely willing to donate.
  • be physically fit and in good general health.

What to expect:

  • Before you are accepted as a living donor, you will undergo a number of medical tests by our team to make sure that you are a suitable candidate.
  • Baystate Medical Center has a living donor advocate who can address any concerns you may have about the donation.
  • No cost to you as the donor for the required medical tests and surgery.
  • Medicare typically covers the cost of the living donor's evaluation, testing and surgery.
  • A Baystate Medical Center financial counselor is available to help answer all of your financial questions.

Types of Living Donations

There are a number of types of living donations, including:

  • Related:  donors are blood relatives of the recipient including brothers, sisters, parents, children (over 18 years of age), aunts, uncles, cousins, half brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews.
  • Non-Related:  donors are emotionally close to the recipient, but not related by blood, including spouses, in-laws, close friends, coworkers, and neighbors.
  • Non-Directed: donors are not related to or known by the recipient, but make their donation purely out of selfless motives.
  • Paired Donation:  two recipients who are not compatible with their donors, exchange donors so that each recipient can receive a compatible kidney.
  • Kidney Donor/Wait List Exchange:  an option for incompatible living donors and recipients that is determined by transplant testing.

The Surgery

Transplant Surgeons

Aleksandr Kurbanov, MD
George S. Lipkowitz, MD
Chief Robert Madden, MD

Kenneth J. McPartland, MD

Surgical removal of a kidney is called nephrectomy.

  • Baystate Medical Center's transplant team performs the majority of donor nephrectomies using minimally invasive surgical methods.
  • Minimally invasive surgery means:
    • Much smaller incisions
    • Faster healing and recovery
    • Reduced risk of infection

On rare occasions, the more traditional method of surgery may be necessary, but this will be discussed with you in advance.


You can expect to be in the hospital from two to four days following your surgery.

  • Most donors find they are able to resume normal home and work lives within three to six weeks.
  • Physically, you should not experience any long-term problems, however, as with any surgery, there are risks, and these will be carefully reviewed with you before surgery.

Links to Kidney Transplant Information

Learn more about kidney transplants at these websites:

American Association of Kidney Patients helps patients and their families to cope with all aspects of kidney failure.
DonateLife is a group of organizations working together to inform the public about organ and tissue donation.
LifeChoice Donor Services facilitates the organ donation process and allocates organs to those in need.
Medicare provides coverage for individuals with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD).
National Kidney Foundation (NSF) is a health organization committed to the prevention of kidney disease and to increase the availability of organs for transplantation.
OrganDonor, created by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, provides information regarding organ donation and transplantation.
Statistical Scientific Registry for Transplant Recipients is a national database of statistics related to solid organ transplantation - kidney, liver, pancreas, intestine, heart and lung.  The registry covers the full range of transplant activity, from organ donation and waiting list candidates to transplant recipients and survival statistics.
United Network for Organ Sharing is a federally funded, private agency that monitors all the business of transplantation.