When you have kidney failure, also known as end-stage renal disease (ESRD), you either need dialysis or a kidney transplant to live. Kidney transplant is considered the best treatment option for people facing kidney failure because it can increase your chances of living a longer, healthier life. Having a kidney transplant can be a life-changing opportunity. You may get a kidney transplant when your kidneys are close to failure, before you need to start dialysis. Or you may start dialysis while you wait for a kidney transplant.
Kidney transplant surgery is considered safe, and is usually very successful. A successful kidney transplant depends on how healthy you are before the transplant, taking care of yourself after your transplant, and closely following your doctors’ orders after the transplant.
Research has shown that patients who get a kidney from a living donor live longer than patients who get a kidney from a deceased donor (someone who has just died). On average, living kidney donor transplants last 15-20 years, and deceased kidney donor transplants last 10-15 years.
Preparing for transplant
There are many steps you need to take to get ready for a kidney transplant. First, you must have an evaluation by a transplant center to decide if you are ready for the kidney transplant. If the evaluation teams decides you are ready, the next step is to find a kidney match, which your transplant team will help you with. Learn more about the process of preparing for a kidney transplant.
The process of getting listed for a kidney transplant often begins when your doctor refers you for the transplant surgery. Learn how to get on a transplant waitlist and how to choose your transplant center.
Life after transplant
To some people, getting a kidney transplant can feel like getting another chance at life. There are many great things that come with getting a kidney transplant, like having more time in the day and more freedom. There are also many things you should consider in your life after transplant that involve taking care of your new kidney. Learn more about life post-transplant.
Donate a kidney
Nearly 100,000 people are on the waiting list for a kidney transplant. Many more people are waiting for a kidney than for all other organs combined. Unfortunately, the number of people waiting for kidneys is much larger than the number of available kidneys from living and deceased donors. You can save a life by being a kidney donor. Learn how.
Types of transplants
You can get a kidney from a person who is still alive, or someone who has just died. People can survive with just one healthy kidney, so someone with two healthy kidneys may choose to donate one. Learn more about the types of transplant.
Kidney transplant in children
It is estimated that each year, 1 in 65,000 children in the United States has kidney failure. Children with kidney failure have a different experience with this disease than adults. Learn about kidney transplant in children and how to prepare your child for surgery and life after transplant.
Celebrities and kidney transplants
The United States’ celebrity-fueled social media culture means many celebrities have become increasingly open about their health journeys, sharing personal stories about everything from wellness tips to lifesaving organ donations. Stevie Wonder, who announced to a sea of fans that he would be receiving a kidney transplant from a living donor at the end of 2019, recently updated his fans on his post-transplant progress. While celebrity reputation has no effect on a person’s status on the transplant waiting list, an announcement like Steve Wonder’s reaches his millions of fans with a strong message about the importance of living organ donation. The question is, with about 109,000 people on the organ transplant waiting list in the U.S. (of which nearly 94,000 are waiting for a kidney) how can we use celebrity voices to elevate the conversation about organ transplants and increase the number people — both living and deceased — who choose to make a lifesaving gift?
Learn how by reading our opinion piece on Blavity.com: How Celebrity Voices Creating Awareness About Lifesaving Organ Transplants Could Save Lives