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Every year more than 250 patients die waiting for a kidney transplant.

First published:
11 March 2019
Last updated:

This was published under the 2016 to 2021 administration of the Welsh Government

Every year more than 250 patients die waiting for a kidney transplant. There are not enough kidneys donated from people who have died for everyone who needs a transplant. The average waiting time for a kidney transplant from a deceased donor is approximately two years and in rare cases can be over five years.

Kidneys are the most common organ donated by living people but other organs can be donated, including part of a liver, a segment of a lung and part of the small bowel.  A transplant from a matched living donor provides the best outcome for the recipient.

Peoples’ lives can be changed by a living donation, resulting in shorter waiting times, avoiding dialysis and an improvement to the quality and length of someone's life. Everyone has two kidneys and a healthy person can lead a completely normal life with only one working kidney.

The focus on living donation coincides with World Kidney Day on Thursday 14 March and highlights how the selfless and generous act of becoming a living organ donor can improve another person’s life. 

Health Secretary Vaughan Gething said: 

“Living donors help save and transform lives, offering more patients with kidney failure, and other diseases, the possibility of a successful transplant. 

“We are leading the way on consent to deceased organ donation in Wales, but while there are still people dying waiting for a transplant, we must work harder to further increase awareness of the possibility of living donation. 

“Often, living donors are close relatives or friends but you can still donate an organ to someone you do not know. I would encourage people across Wales, and the UK as a whole, to consider becoming a living donor – it’s a decision that could potentially be life changing for someone.”