Types of Living Donations

There are different types of living donation, which generally are determined by two factors - (1) whether the donor and recipient are biologically related and (2) whether the donor is directing the donation. "Directing" means the donor identifies the specific person to whom he or she is donating. The different forms of donation and the terminology used to describe them are as follows:

  • Living related donation: the living donor directs the donation to a specific recipient who is a blood relative (such as a parent, child, or sibling). Looking at United Network Organ Sharing External Icon (UNOS) data for living kidney donations made since 1988, about 75% were living related donations.
  • Living unrelated donation: the living donor directs the donation to a specific recipient who is not a blood relative (such as a spouse, a friend, or co-worker). About 24% of living kidney donations since 1988 were living unrelated donations.
  • Living non-directed donation: the living donor does not direct the donation. Instead, the recipient is selected from a list of compatible people on a kidney waiting list. This form of donation is also sometimes called "anonymous."