Before having a transplant, you will need tests to see if the donor kidney is a match for your body.  For the kidney to be a good match, the new kidney will need to be very similar to the other organs and tissues in your body so that your immune system will not attack it.

The job of your immune system is to find anything that should not be inside your body, attack it, then get rid of it to keep your body healthy. The immune system is meant to protect your body by fighting anything it senses can hurt you, such as bacteria from spoiled food or viruses like the flu. Because the donor kidney comes from another person’s body, your immune system will notice right away that your new kidney is different than the rest of your body, then start to attack the new kidney as if it were a disease.  To lower the chances of this happening, your transplant team will make sure that the new kidney comes from someone whose blood type works with your blood type.

There are four basic groups of blood types that people have: type O, type A, type B, and type AB.  If your blood type is very similar to that of the new kidney, there is a lower chance that your immune system will try to fight the new kidney.

If your blood type is:

  • O, you can only get a kidney from someone with type O blood.
  • A, you can get a kidney from someone with type A or type O blood.
  • B, you can get a kidney from someone with type B or type O blood.
  • AB, you can get a kidney from someone with type A, type B, type AB or type O blood.