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Tell us why the Australian Government's Leave for Living Organ Donors Support Scheme
should continue. Find out more here?

Do you need more information about the
Australian Government's Leave for Living Organ Donors Support Scheme?

This scheme is administered by the Australian Government as part of a two year pilot,
commencing July 2013 and initially reviewed over 2014/15.

To register for further information from the Australian Government about this scheme
  livingorgandonation@health.gov.au or at Leave for Living Organ Donors for more info.

Kidney Health Australia relevant fact sheet resources

Deciding to be a live kidney donor   
Live Kidney Donation 
Non-directed live kidney donation 
Organ and tissue donation & transplantation 


Live kidney donation is a gift - a gift by choice and not by chance

A gift of a normal functioning kidney from one living human to another.

Who can become a live donor?
Most living organ donors are relatives of a person receiving the transplant (e.g. parent, brother or sister). Recent advances in medicine have made it possible for people not related, to donate to the person who needs a transplant (e.g. spouse, partner or friend).

Living donation by a relative or friend is called a live directed donation. If you are thinking of making a living kidney donation discuss this with your GP to find out how this may affect your individual health.

Living donation can also be non-directed
Donations of bone marrow by volunteers are a common form of this type of donation. Non-directed kidney donation is a new practice worldwide. It is still rare in Australia and is only possible at some Australian hospitals.

In these cases, a person decides to donate a kidney to help whoever is on the waiting list. The donor has no say in who will or will not receive the kidney. Care is taken to protect the privacy of this type of donor.

Can I donate my kidney to a stranger?
Non-directed live donation means being a live kidney donor to a complete stranger. Someone donates a kidney and allows it to be transplanted to the most suitable recipient on the waiting list. This is a very serious decision - you may need to talk about it with your family, friends, GP, renal transplant nurse, social worker or counsellor. Policies and guidelines are currently being developed in some states of Australia.

Can I buy or sell a kidney? No - trade in human organs and tissue is illegal in Australia
This practice is also considered ethically unacceptable. Anyone involved would face criminal charges. The illegal buying of organs overseas raises the risks of recipients contacting blood borne diseases, complications, or even death.

What do I need to know about Live Kidney Donation?
If thinking of making a live kidney donation, you may find these videos helpful to make an informed decision.

KidneyEd TV on YouTube
Reviewed playlists on kidney transplantation, organ donation etc. We recommend Living Kidney Donation: What you need to know - one of an education playlist selection on our KidneyHealthAus YouTube profile.

Permission to host this video has been provided by
Queensland Health

View links to other videos in this range - click links here:
Part 1 - Living Kidney Donation: What you need to know
Part 2 - Living Kidney Donation: What you need to know
Jenny's story on her experience with Live Kidney Donation


The Australian Paired Kidney eXchange Program (AKX) is an initiative of the Organ and Tissue Authority to increase the options for living kidney donation. 

This program offers a transplant option for patients with an incompatible living donors
The AKX Program helps patients seeking a kidney transplant, whose potential living donor is unsuitable for them due to blood group and/or tissue incompatibility. This option is known as paired kidney exchange or, paired kidney donation.

The AKX Program uses a computer program to search the entire available database of registered recipient/donor pairs to look for combinations where the donor in an incompatible pair can be matched to a recipient in another pair. If a compatible match, two or more simultaneous transplants can occur by exchanging donors.

21 August 2013: In a South Australian first, an Adelaide woman has received a life saving kidney from a complete stranger, in exchange for one of her husband's kidneys, which went to a person in Perth.

How can I join the AKX Program?
To register you should contact your kidney specialist. You and your donor will be asked to:

  • provide a detailed medical history
  • undergo a number of medical tests
  • have the program explained to you by a medical professional
  • sign a consent form

Can Donors and Recipients meet?
Sharing information and meeting your donor or recipient can cause problems even if there are good medical results. Therefore the AKX Program protects the anonymity of donor and recipient pairs. Strict privacy and confidentiality is therefore maintained for each donor/recipient pair. It is not possible for staff involved in the Program to facilitate meeting of donors and recipients after the transplants.

What costs are involved?
There is no cost to you for participating in the Program, although you may need to consider sick leave if you are employed as you will need to take time off work. This should be discussed with your transplant centre. No payments can be charged, or paid to you, for donating a kidney or participating in the program.

Information provided by DonateLife

Have more questions regarding paired kidney donation and the AKX Program?

AKX Program Clinical Director - Professor Paolo Ferrari: call 02 9382 4411
AKX Program Co-ordinator - Claudia Woodroffe: call 02 9382 4476 or Claudia.Woodroffe@health.wa.gov.au

Australian Paired Kidney Exchange Program
Department of Nephrology,  Prince of Wales Hospital
L3 - High Street Building, High Street, Randwick NSW 2031


Australian Bone Marrow Donor Registry
  - global network of donor registries of unrelated donors between 18 and 40, in good health and prepared to donate bone marrow.

Australian Red Cross Blood Service - call 131 495 to make an appointment or to donate always needed blood.

DonateLife™ - Resources and Donate Life - fact sheets inc. Tissue and eye banks in Australia

Making a Decision about Living Organ and Tissue Donation developed by NHMRC
From "Living Organ and Tissue Donation: Guidelines for Ethical Practice for Health Professionals"

Renal Resource Centre NSW offer a range of brochures, publications and 'kidney' education material
* Introduction to Kidney Transplantation  * From me to you - So your relative needs a kidney?

Could I be a Living Donor from Transplant UK

Perioperative Mortality and Long-term Survival Following Live Kidney Donation

JAMA.2010;303(10):959-966 - Dorry L Segev MD PhD; Abimereki D Muzaale MD MPH; Brian S Caffo PhD; Shruti H Mehta PhD; Andrew L Singer MD PhD; Sarah E Taranto; Maureen A McBride, PhD; Robert A. Montgomery, MD, DPhil

Page updated 26 March 2015 
Disclaimer: This information is intended as a general introduction to this topic and is not meant to substitute your doctor's or health professional's advice. All care is taken to ensure information is relevant and applicable to each Australian state. It should be noted Kidney Health Australia recognises each person's experience is individual and variations do occur in treatment and management due to personal circumstances. Should you require further info always consult your doctor or health professional.
  The material contained on this site does not constitute medical advice. It is intended for information purposes only. Published by Kidney Health Australia. Privacy Policy. For information about website content please contact the National Communications Manager.

© 2008 Kidney Health Australia

Last updated: Apr 2015.