Waiting for a kidney transplant

How do I know if I am on the waiting list?

We will ask you to sign a consent form and will send you a letter when you are on the waiting list.

Why do I need to sign a consent form?

UK Transplant organises the allocation of kidneys in the UK. They have to ask your permission to use your personal information for the waiting list. The consent form lets them know that you are happy for UK Transplant to use your personal information and put your name on the waiting list. They do not use this personal information for anything else. We may ask you to sign a consent form to let us know that you are happy to go on to the transplant waiting list and understand some of the risks involved with transplantation.

What should I do while waiting for my transplant?

Carry on as normal but make sure you stay as healthy as you can. Regular exercise will help maintain your fitness and if you smoke, you should stop. Your doctor or specialist nurse will review your fitness for transplant on a regular basis. Let your doctor or specialist nurse know if you are ill or go away on holiday, as you may need to be temporarily suspended from the list. Let your doctor or specialist nurse know when you are better or return from holiday, so they can reactivate you on the list. If you have dialysis abroad when on holiday, you may need a longer period off the list while we check that you have not caught any infections from the holiday dialysis unit.

What if I move or change my phone number?

It is very important that we have up-to-date contact information for you, particularly phone numbers. A transplant call can come at any time and if we cannot get hold of you, we will have to offer the kidney to someone else. Please let the receptionist or dialysis staff know if you have changed phone number or moved home. Make sure your phone is in working order and always switched on. You never know when you might get that call!

How long will I wait for a kidney?

After you have made the decision to have a kidney transplant there will be a period of waiting until a suitable donor kidney becomes available - unfortunately we cannot predict when this will be. UK Transplant allocates kidneys by blood group and tissue type. This system is in place to ensure the best match between you and the donor kidney. The wait can be anything from a few weeks to many years but on average, patients who are blood group A or AB wait just over two years and patients who are blood group O or B wait just over three years. If your tissue type is rare or you are sensitised to certain tissue types (from blood transfusions, previous transplants or pregnancy) you may wait longer than the average.

Can I reduce the wait for a kidney?

Kidneys are allocated by UK Transplant according to blood group and tissue type. Your doctors have no control over the list and we cannot reduce your wait but if someone is prepared to give you a kidney, this may reduce the time to transplantation. If a friend or relative wants to give you a kidney, you should ring the live donor nurses on 020 7317 7604 to arrange matching with this person and see if they would be a suitable donor for you.