Living Kidney Donor
A kidney transplant is the treatment of choice for individuals experiencing kidney failure.

Many patients currently on the wait list for a deceased donor kidney have a long and difficult road ahead. Living donation offers a shorter pathway to transplantation.

Learn more about the Kidney Transplant Program at UHN and your options.

Do you need a kidney transplant?

Kidney Icon

Learn more about our Kidney Transplant Program.​

​Are you considering living donation?

Learn more about what to expect:

Learn more about living kidney donation

Contact the Centre for Living Organ Donation
Phone: 416 340 5400

About Our Program

  • Largest kidney transplant program in Canada with excellent patient outcomes
  • Over 5,000 kidney transplants since program started over 50 years ago
  • Over 1,600 living donor transplants since 1966
  • Follow-up care provided to more than 2,500 patients
  • Pioneering research leading to advances in transplant medicine
  • Compassionate experts working hard to achieve the best possible outcomes for each patient
Living Kidney Donor Program Team

​How to Become a Living Donor

STEP 1: To apply to become a potential living donor, complete the Living Donor Health History Form PDF Icon.

STEP 2: Submit the completed form in person, by email, mail or fax. ​All mailing information is on the form.

STEP 3: Our Living Kidney Donor Assessment Office will call you once we have reviewed your health history form. Please review the Living Donor ManualPDF Icon prior to the call and consider registering for one of our educational sessions.

Your Journey as a Living Donor


For a comprehensive list of helpful resources that will guide you through your donor journey as well as articles and videos on living organ donati​on, visit our Resource Library.


Advantages and Risks of Living Donation

We believe that becoming a living donor must always be a voluntary choice, one that you make without pressure from others. Knowing the facts will help you decide if this option is the right choice for you.

  • Life-saving transplant, scheduled at time convenient for the donor, and with minimal waiting time for the recipient.
  • Provides an opportunity for the donor to give "the gift of life," with a faster return to good health and good quality of life for the recipient.
  • Removes a person from the deceased kidney wait list and increases organs available for transplant.
  • Donors gain deep satisfaction from their act of kindness and generosity.​​
  • Not all transplants are successful.
  • Kidney donation is a major operation; though living donors are in good health, there are risks related to having surgery. The donor team will talk to you about the risks involved.
  • The evaluation requires multiple visits to hospital and recovery takes at least 6 weeks.
  • Only part of the costs associated with surgery are reimbursed by the Ontario government.

Common Questions and Answers

Since 1969, over 1,600 living kidney donor transplants have been performed at UHN. All donors have returned to their regular lifestyle with no restrictions.

There is no monetary compensation for organ donation. There is a reimbursement program called Program for Reimbursing Expenses of Living Organ Donors (PRELOD) PDF Icon funded by the Trillium Gift of Life Network. PRELOD may pay for potential expenses that happen during the evaluation process. During your preliminary appointment, a transplant assessment coordinator will talk to you about the PRELOD reimbursement program and how to apply for it.

Once the recipient is listed for transplant at UHN, the living kidney donor program will begin evaluating applications from donors. If you would like to know more about the criteria used to determine whether a patient may be referred for a transplant assessment or listed for kidney transplant surgery, please visit our Resource Library.

The first step to determine your suitability is to complete a donor health history form PDF Icon. This information will be reviewed by the kidney donor team and your suitability will be determined. The kidney donor coordinator will contact you once the health history has been reviewed to discuss the next step.

The living kidney donor program only evaluates one donor at a time because of the costs to the health care system. The pace of the donor evaluation is driven by donor safety and the time needed to obtain fully informed consent from the donor.

It is important that you take the time to learn about the risks and benefits of living kidney donation and think about your decision carefully.

If you decide to end a donor work-up process, the specific reason for ending your work up will be kept confidential. The recipient will only be told that you are medically unsuitable for donation. You may wish to tell the recipient of your choice yourself or you can ask your transplant coordinator to tell the recipient that your work up has been closed.

There are many advantages to a living kidney donation over a deceased kidney donation. For one, the waiting time is much shorter and the transplant date is planned ahead, allowing time for both the donor and recipient to get ready for the surgery. Furthermore, a kidney removed from a living donor is generally healthier than one removed from a deceased donor, and usually begins to function right after the transplant operation. This contributes to a better long-term success rate than deceased donor kidney transplants.

There are strict criteria that you must meet in order to be a donor. This means that there are certain medical conditions that would not allow you to be a donor, such as if you have high blood pressure, a heart condition, a certain chronic illness or multiple kidney stones (this list is not complete). For your safety, it is essential that you make sure you tell your transplant coordinator about any health issues or concerns you may have.

You should know as a potential donor that a living donor kidney transplant usually lasts 15 to 20 years and therefore some recipients may need another transplant later on in life.

There is a risk that a donor can carry or become infected with a virus after the time of final blood testing and just before the living donor surgery. Donors are asked to reduce the risk of viral transmission at the time of surgery by taking the following measures:

  • Do not have any body piercings, tattoos, acupuncture or electrolysis once you have come forward as a potential donor.
  • Practice safe sex. Reduce the risk of sexually transmitted disease through the use of condoms.
  • Tell your living donor coordinator about any accidental incidents, such as a needle stick injury.
  • Do not use any illicit drugs before your surgery.

It should be noted that the results of viral testing for viruses like the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and cytomegalovirus (CMV) will be shared with the recipient team for safety reasons. If viral illnesses are discovered, the donor will be asked for consent prior to this information being shared with the recipient team. Without sharing this information, the kidney donation cannot occur.

If you wish to speak with someone who has undergone the living kidney donor process, please let the Living Kidney Donor Assessment Office know and we will arrange an opportunity to speak with one of our past donors. You can also email

The transplant will be scheduled once the donor and recipient are both cleared by their own transplant teams. Based on the outcome of the tests and consults, the surgery may take a minimum of 3-6 months or longer before it can be scheduled.

Yes, please submit a completed kidney donor health history form PDF Icon. A kidney donor coordinator will contact you to discuss our Specialized Transplant Programs , including the Desensitization Program for kidney recipients and Paired Kidney Donation or List Exchange Program for living donors.

Yes, you can withdraw from the evaluation process without any explanation.

You will meet with members of the living donor team. We will talk to you about donation to make sure you are well informed about this option. Donor safety is our foremost concern. We also need to know that donors are choosing this freely without pressure. You or the donor team may decide that being a living donor is not in your best interest. All meetings with the donor team will be private. The person who needs the transplant will only know if the donor is suitable or unsuitable. No other information about the assessment will be shared.

For the UHN living donor program, the donor’s safety is the priority; the program does not does not prioritize on recipient urgency.

Please call the living kidney donor assessment office for more information at 416 340 4800 ext. 4848