Talking Points


How do you sum up all the facts, feelings and emotions necessary to help people understand your need and pique their interest to want to help in some way? While it may sound difficult, it’s really not.  

If you think about it, most of us are usually pretty comfortable talking about things we’re knowledgeable about. The more you know, the easier it flows. The same thing goes for your need for a kidney transplant. The better you educate yourself about the process, the easier it will be to talk to others about the need for a transplant and the process itself.

But it takes a little practice to get your story where you want it to be. If you can, practice with a trusted friend who can give you honest feedback. As you take that feedback into account, continue to practice your story until you are comfortable with it and can share it with others.

Organizing Your Talking Points

Everyone’s communication style is different. You will most likely adapt your story and approach based on who you are talking to as well. However, if you remember to fold in some key points into each conversation, you will ensure you have covered all your bases – no matter how it comes out.

Points You Need To Get Across

There are certain points of information you need to get across in your conversation to give your listener a solid background and understanding of your situation. These include:

  • Why you are in need a transplant (what caused your problem)
  • How you are doing right now
  • Why a transplant will help you
  • Where transplanted kidneys come from (waiting list/living donation)
  • People who are healthy can usually donate

Also Important

If you conversation is going well, you can also move to work in some other points to further expand on the transplant process. Some of these topics can include:

  • Why living donation is preferable
  • How people are matched for a transplant
  • The surgical process

Handling Feedback

As mentioned before, the point of having these conversations isn’t usually to ask for a kidney.  However, if someone has questions, let them ask. This will help them feel more comfortable. Additionally, you want to make sure they know you aren’t asking them for a kidney right now – even if they start making positive remarks in that direction. This decision isn’t something that should be made at the spur of the moment. Finally, if during one of your conversations someone does offer a kidney, you should let them know they can back out of the process at any time for any reason.


The main thing you want to do with these conversations is to build interest. The more you heighten awareness and make people curious, the more productive it becomes. So how do you do this? Let people ask questions. By satisfying their own curiosity, it might help increase their desire to want to give. At the very least, awareness of the need for more organ donation has been shared with another person.  

I Want to be a Donor

What do you do when someone says they want to give you a kidney? Obviously you’ll want to thank them – but, again, you’ll want to remind them that if any time they decide donating a kidney isn’t for them, they can back out with no questions asked. Let them know you understand that might come up as they continue to think about the process as a whole.  

If they continue to want to be considered a donor candidate, you can provide them with the name of the transplant hospital where you are having your transplant so they can be tested. The hospital will then schedule a series of test to determine if they are a viable candidate for you.

As mentioned before, even if someone has offered a kidney, you shouldn’t necessarily stop asking others. There are many reasons a person might not be the ultimate donor. Most hospitals have their own procedure for testing potential kidney donors. Some of the testing can last a month. With that in mind, you don’t want to lose that time counting on just one person in the event they don’t work out. Keep your options open. Keep sharing your story.




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