Pediatric Transplant Care

Living Kidney Donation

Living donation is the quickest way for your child to get a kidney transplant. The Champion for Life program at University Health can identify a living donor.

What Is a Living-Donor Transplant?

A living kidney donor is a healthy adult who gives a healthy kidney to someone who needs it. When your child receives a kidney from a living donor, this is a living-donor transplant.

We are recognized as leaders in the field of pediatric living donor transplants. In 2022, University Transplant Institute performed more living donor kidney transplants on children than any other transplant institute in the nation.

Potential Living Donor

If you know someone willing to donate a kidney, talk to your child’s transplant coordinator right away. We can begin the screening process before your child’s first appointment.

Benefits of a Living Kidney Donor

Nearly everyone is born with two kidneys, but you can live a normal, healthy life with just one. Living kidney donors are the perfect donors for pediatric patients needing a transplant.

If you find a living kidney donor, your child will not need to be placed on the national waiting list. Your child may experience:

  • Better short- and long-term results
  • Advanced planning and flexible scheduling of transplant surgery
  • Healthier donor kidney for transplant
  • Shorter waiting time to receive a kidney transplant

Your child may not need to go on dialysis if the kidney is available soon enough.

Who Can Be a Living Donor?

Your child’s living donor can be anyone who is willing to donate one of his or her kidneys. Living donors must be at least 18 years old and in good physical and mental health.

Finding a Living Kidney Donor

Talk to our dedicated Champion for Life team to learn about living donation and finding a living donor. Your champion provides support services, such as:

  • Educating and advocating for your child
  • Educating others about living donation
  • Publicizing your child’s need through news media (radio, TV and newspaper) exposure and human-interest stories
  • Using social media to raise awareness of your child’s situation

Successful Living Donor for Matt

Living Donor Matching Process

Finding a compatible living donor is an ideal situation. But many living donors go through testing only to find they are not compatible with the person they hoped to donate to. When you work with us, your living donor does not need to be an exact match to benefit your child. The donor can still help your child through a paired donor exchange.

Kidney Donor Paired Exchange

We are the only transplant center in San Antonio participating in the kidney paired donation program managed by United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). Ask about a kidney exchange if tests show that your child and your potential donor are not a match.

University Health achieves almost half of the living donor transplants through paired exchanges. We arrange for your child’s donor to give his or her kidney to an unrelated, compatible recipient, and your child receives a kidney from another living donor who is a match.

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