Types of Pediatric Kidney Transplant

Kidney transplants in children make up about 5 percent of all kidney transplants each year. Kidney transplants are the most common type of organ transplant performed today.

The kidneys filter and remove waste from the blood. When a child’s kidney functions poorly, he or she may be suitable for a kidney transplant.

To decide if a kidney transplant is right for your child, we'll do a series of tests at our transplant center.

There are two types of kidney transplants:

  • Deceased-donor kidney transplants
  • Living-donor kidney transplants

Deceased-Donor Kidney Transplants

A deceased-donor kidney transplant is the most common type of kidney transplant.

When an organ donor dies, they may donate their kidneys to people on the transplant waiting list. A person on the waiting list most often receives one kidney, but sometimes will get two.

Children in need of a kidney have priority on the transplant waiting list. Most children can receive an adult kidney.

Living-Donor Kidney Transplants

Most people have two healthy kidneys and can live normal lives with only one. A living-donor kidney transplant means someone is willing to donate a kidney to a person in need.

Living donors can be a:

  • Parent
  • Relative
  • Friend
  • Neighbor
  • Stranger looking to help a child in need

When no friend or family member is a match, a kidney exchange program can be another option. In a kidney exchange, a donor offers their kidney to another person in exchange for a compatible kidney for their loved one.

Living-donors must be at least 18 years old.

Learn More About Pediatric Kidney Transplants

From our health library

From outside sources

Contact the Kidney Transplant Program at UPMC Children's

If you have questions, concerns, or unexpected needs about your child's kidney transplant, contact our team at 412-692-5182.