Evaluating a Potential Donor

If you are considering becoming a kidney donor, there are several factors which need to be considered. Doctors typically base their decision on these two:

1. The donor must be able to tolerate the surgical removal of the kidney and remain healthy after the operation. 

2. There can be no increased risk for kidney failure of the donor. The recipient must be able to benefit from the donor kidney. 


A certain battery of tests must be done to evaluate the potential donor. One of the first tests is a simple blood test to determine compatibility.



If the potential donor meets the first set of criteria, a complete physical exam will be ordered to make sure he or she is fit enough for surgery.

More testing may also be needed depending on the candidate. The transplant team will determine which additional tests are needed. These can include:

  • In depth blood tests - More comprehensive tests to ensure blood compatibility.
  • Urine tests - To make sure the donor kidney is functioning properly.
  • Computed Tomography (CT) Scan – To determine which kidney is best for donation and to view the area around the kidney.
  • Assorted Screenings – These include X-Ray, electrocardiogram, blood and urine tests and are needed to identify high blood pressure, diabetes or heart disease.  Any of these diseases can be a barrier to kidney donation.

Psychological Evaluation – To ensure both the donor and the recipient are in the right frame of mind for the donation.
Each transplant center has a certain set of tests they perform and criteria which need to be met before approving the kidney donation. Once all tests have been completed and the transplant team is satisfied the donor and recipient are a good match, the surgery can be scheduled.



Number of kidney transplants performed in the United States. Learn More