Awareness of Living Kidney Donation

Raising awareness of living kidney donation

NHS Tayside Transplant Coordinator Irene Russell is raising awareness of living kidney donation and asking people to think about joining the NHS Organ Donor Register.
In Scotland there are almost 600 people waiting for a transplant and due to a shortage of donors, sadly some patients die whilst waiting on the transplant list.

One organ donor can save or transform up to nine lives and transform even more by donating tissue, but there is another way to become an organ donor and that is through a living donation.

Transplant Coordinator Irene Russell said, “There are many myths and misunderstandings around living donation and it is important to raise awareness of the process.

“People may think they are too old but there is no upper age limit for a live donation and all major religions support living kidney donation.  If it turns out that the donor and recipient are not a match, the donor can then be entered into the UK Kidney Sharing Scheme to find a match. 

“Raising public awareness of living donation is vital and I am pleased that the Abbey Practice in Arbroath is supporting this through the practice digital display which features the animated film from the Living Donation Scotland website. The short video sensitively and clearly explains living donation.  It is so important to get the message and information about living donation out there and GP Practices seem an ideal place to start.”

A living kidney donation is the best and most effective treatment for all patients with end stage kidney disease who are eligible for transplant. If the transplant is carried out before the recipient needs dialysis there is significant survival benefit and improved health outcomes. About a third of all transplants are from living donors but the willingness to discuss it and awareness of the benefits of living donation can vary across Scotland.

Eligible patients for a kidney transplant can be added to the deceased donor waiting list but the average wait for a call is two years. The wait for a transplant and the impact of multiple dialysis sessions can result in patients experiencing increased psychological and financial burden as they may have to rearrange their work or in some cases they have to stop working. A living kidney donation can happen much sooner if a suitable living donor is found.

For more information on living donation visit

It is still important that people join the NHS Organ Donor Register as Irene explains, “Many people think they would be unsuitable to donate organs and tissues because of medical history or lifestyle choices, but each potential donor is individually assessed and we need people from all ethnicities and backgrounds to register.

“Joining the organ donor register takes about two minutes but those two minutes could quite literally save a life.”


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