When you’ve reached Stage 4 and your kidneys are failing, a kidney transplant may be a treatment option for you. A transplant is a surgery during which a healthy donor kidney is placed into your body. One transplanted kidney is adequate for healthy function. Transplant is a treatment for kidney failure, it is not a cure.

Donor kidneys come from either a deceased donor, or from a living donor. Following a kidney transplant, you will take daily medication for the rest of your life, to make sure that your body does not reject the donor kidney.

Transplant is not a good choice for everyone. You and your health care team will discuss the risks and benefits of this treatment, and consider factors such as your age and other health problems.  If you are interested, your doctor can help you find a transplant center, where you will go through an evaluation with the transplant team.  If you are accepted and do not have a living donor, you’ll be placed on one or more waiting lists.

In the following sections, you’ll learn what makes a person a good transplant candidate, the different donor options, how the waiting list works, and the transplant surgery itself. 

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