Timing plays a crucial role in the success of a kidney transplant. If you are able to have a kidney transplant operation, you should aim to have it as early as possible. It is ideal to get your kidney transplant even before your chronic kidney disease (CKD) is severe enough to require dialysis (before stage 4 and stage 5). Given that the average waiting time for a kidney transplant is between 3 and 5 years, this may be difficult. If you are not able to get a kidney transplant before you start on dialysis, be sure that you choose the type of dialysis that best suits your health and lifestyle needs, making it as easy as possible for you to stay on your treatment plan.
For your kidney transplant to succeed, the healthy kidney must come from a donor whose blood and tissue types are compatible with yours. It is also beneficial if the donor’s genetic characteristics are similar to your own. There are two types of kidney donations:
A healthy kidney can be surgically removed from a living donor and transplanted into you. A living kidney donor can be a relative, friend, spouse, or anybody else who is willing to donate and has the same tissue type as you and a blood type that is compatible with your own. Even if you find a living donor, your clinician may still recommend that you register for a kidney transplant waiting list.
If you are not able to get a donation from a living kidney donor, you will need to place yourself on a waitlist to receive a deceased-donor kidney. Your clinician will help guide you through this process. Most countries have a centralised organisation that manages this process and helps patients navigate the system.