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Non-directed altruistic donation

Non-directed altruistic donation (commonly known as altruistic donation) is a form of donation whereby a healthy living person is able to donate a kidney to someone they do not know.

A non-directed donor can either donate to a patient on the national transplant list to create a single transplant, or donate into the paired / pooled scheme to create a 'chain' of transplants. Please see below for further information.

Non-directed altruistic donor chains

Introduced by NHS Blood and Transplant in 2012, this form of donation is where a non-directed altruistic donor donates their organ into the paired / pooled scheme. By matching two or more donors and recipients, a chain of operations can be carried out. The remaining organ at the end of the chain is then donated to the best matched recipient on the national waiting list. Further information can be found here.

How to get further information about becoming an altruistic donor

If a person wants to donate an organ or part organ, they will need to contact their local transplant unit in order to be assessed. This assessment will include a number of medical tests and also a mental health assessment. These tests will take a number of months to be completed.

If an individual is assessed as a suitable donor they will be referred to an HTA Independent Assessor (IA). The IA will interview the potential donor to ensure the requirements of the Human Tissue Act 2004 have been met. The IA will submit a report of their interview to the HTA. The decision on the case is then made by a panel of Authority Members.

Following approval the donor’s name will be put forward to a national allocation scheme and matched to a suitable recipient. This works in the same way as deceased donation, where a donor is matched to a patient on the national waiting list.

Further information can be found on the NHS Blood and Transplant website here.

Read about the first UK meeting of an altruistic kidney donor and a stranger recipient, which happened in 2007.


Updated May 2011