About kidney donation

Kidneys are essential for cleansing our blood. Choosing to donate a kidney could transform, or even save a life.

Kidney donation is usually something that happens after you die, but because it is possible to live a normal, healthy life with only one kidney you can also donate while you are alive.

Why do some people need kidney transplants?

Kidneys cleanse the blood of naturally occurring poisons known as toxins, and balance the amount of fluid and minerals in your body.

When they are not working properly and can no longer do these jobs, a person is said to be in kidney failure.

People with kidney failure rely on a dialysis machine to do the jobs their kidneys can no longer do.

Dialysis is not a cure for kidney disease however, and some people may need to be attached to a dialysis machine for many hours a day until a suitable transplant can be found.

An illustration of a patient receiving dialysis treatment.

Why become a kidney donor?

If you choose to become a kidney donor when you die, you could be offering a better quality of life to someone who relies on dialysis to do the jobs their kidneys can no longer do.

You could even save a life, as the average life expectancy for someone on dialysis is only five to ten years.

Most people can become kidney donors

Anyone can register a decision to become a kidney donor after death, there is no age limit.

There are also very few health conditions where organ donation is ruled out completely. 

Get more information about who can become an organ donor

How to become a kidney donor

If you would like to help others after you die by becoming a kidney donor, the best thing to do is to add your name and decision to the NHS Organ Donor Register.

Act now to save lives in the future.

Why register?

Find out why it's really important that you do.

Talk to your loved ones

Organ donation will only go ahead with the support of your family, and clinicians will never proceed with organ donation if your family or loved ones object.

Get tips on how to talk to your loved ones about organ donation

Find out more about how you could make a difference.

More about organ donation