A kidney transplant is needed when one (or both) of your kidneys is infected and needs to be replaced by a healthy kidney from another person. A kidney transplant can come from a living or deceased donor.
According to the United Network for Organ Sharing, there are 100,602 patients who are currently waiting for a kidney transplant.
Unfortunately, the supply does not meet the demand; there are simply not enough donors. The trouble is finding an eligible donnor -- someone either living or deceased who matches your blood type.
How long do you typically have to wait for a kidney transplant?
Many people have Type A blood, so there are more Type A donors than there are Type B or Type O. If you have Type A or Type AB, your wait time could be a three months to a year. Unfortunately, if you have a Type O blood, you can be waiting for three to seven years.
Where you live and your age also plays a major role in who can donate and your waiting time. For example, if you're in your 20s or 30s, you want your new kidneys to last you at least another 30 to 40 years.
Can a living donor decrease wait time?
If someone in your family or circle of friends has the same blood type and a healthy kidney, they can reduce the wait time. Having a living donor also reduces your chances of needing dialysis.
What else do you need to know about kidney transplants?
Chief of kidney and pancreas transplantation at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, David Leeser, MD, shares what a kidney transplant is, who is capable of donating, the waiting time and what other factors contribute to getting a new kidney.