Kidney Exchange

The Kidney Exchange Program increases access to a lifesaving kidney transplant.

Find your care

The Kidney Exchange Program offers more patients access to a donor kidney. Call 310-267-6907 to learn more.

If you are a kidney donor, please contact the Living Donor Line at 866-672-5333.

Illustration of kidneys

Why choose UCLA Health for kidney exchange?

The UCLA Health Kidney Exchange Program offers more patients with end-stage renal disease hope. When you choose us, you benefit from: 

Increased access: We designed our kidney exchange program so that more people who need kidney transplants have access to them. In the past, many patients had to remain on dialysis for years before receiving a kidney transplant.

Exceptional outcomes: In our Kidney Transplant Program, we consistently exceed the national averages in outcomes and survival rates. As a referral center, we constantly treat patients with complex disease, making our excellent results even more impressive.

Treatment from leading researchers: Our physicians are leaders in clinical care, research and academic excellence. We continue to pave the way in offering you the most promising new therapies.

What is kidney exchange?

When you need a kidney transplant, you must find a donor who is a match. Being a donor match means that the recipient and donor have compatible:

  • Antibodies
  • Blood types
  • Tissue

Up to one-third of patients who have a willing living donor can’t receive the kidney because the donor and patient are not a good match. With kidney exchange, you can exchange donors with another donor/recipient pair who is in a similar situation.

Our areas of care

There are a few ways to take advantage of our Kidney Exchange Program. Your options include:  

Kidney swap

If you and your donor have incompatible blood types, you can swap donors with another donor/recipient pair who is compatible with you. We can also set up kidney swaps for three donor/recipient pairs. 

Kidney chain

Kidney chains start when someone wants to donate a kidney but doesn’t have a known recipient. We give the donor kidney to someone who has a living donor who isn’t a match.

We keep the chain going by matching the incompatible donor with a stranger who needs the kidney, essentially paying it forward. An advanced computer program pairs donors and matches and keeps the chain going across the country. 

In 2008, UCLA Health performed the first transcontinental live-kidney donation chain.

Kidney voucher

We offer a Kidney Voucher Program in association with the National Kidney Registry. The voucher program allows donors to donate a kidney before the intended recipient even needs it.

Donors may want to participate in the voucher program to donate at an optimal time for them so the transplantation can occur later. For example, people may want to donate:

  • When they are still under 65 years old
  • Before major life events, such as marriage or significant travel

Kidney Transplant Program

Kidney exchange is one option for patients who need a kidney transplant. We perform more than 300 kidney transplantations each year and offer options such as incompatible blood type transplants and living donor transplants. Learn more about the Kidney Transplant Program.

Meet the team

Our team consistently sets and raises the standards in kidney transplantations. We are one of the largest kidney transplant programs in the country and have performed more than 8,000 adult and pediatric kidney transplants to-date.

Contact us

Call 310-267-6907 to request an appointment with the Kidney Exchange Program at UCLA Health.