Beaumont Hospital Kidney Centre

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Kidney Donation From Abroad

This patient guide has been produced to provide an overview of the evaluation process involved for potential live donors who live abroad.

We would recommend that you read this guide in conjunction with the video guide and booklets produced by Beaumont Hospita. This guide will provide more detailed information about the risks, benefits, investigations, procedures and the emotional/practical implications associated with donating a kidney. 

Careful consideration should be taken in deciding to become a live donor. Only one in eight donors that come forward to be tested will be considered suitable as an actual donor.

It is essential that you understand the assessment process. We encourage you to ask questions or raise any concerns that you may have throughout process. Depending on the issues raised, the Transplant Co- ordinator will be able to liaise with the relevant team member to support and assist you. We would strongly advise that you communicate and discuss your feelings openly with the recipient and your family at all times.

At any stage you are free to withdraw from becoming a live donor and the reason for your withdrawal will be kept confidential.


How can I volunteer?

If you wish to be considered as a potential live donor, you will need to make direct contact with one of the Transplant Co-ordinators in Beaumont Hospital. (+ 353 1 8528397).


Evaluation Process

Medical staff must be satisfied that the risk of you donating a kidney damaging your health is minimised and that the donated kidney has the greatest chance of success for your recipient. Thus you will have a thorough medical, surgical and psychological assessment to establish that you are fit enough to be a donor, both physically and mentally.


Stage 1

The following will need to be arranged as an initial screen:

  • Confirmation that the recipient is suitable for transplantation (which we will do via a telephone interview with the transplant coordinator and potential donor).
  • A Health Style Questionnaire for yourself to fill out.
  • Ascertainment of your blood group (we recommend you have this checked in your country of residence and forward us the result).
  • Ascertainment of your HLA (tissue) type (Beaumont Hospital will forward you blood bottles which you can send back to Beaumont to have your HLA type tested).

If more than one donor has come forward for a particular recipient, we will select the most suitable donor to proceed to stage 2, based on donor health, blood group compatibility and HLA match.


Stage 2

If you have been identified as a suitable donor, you will be invited to attend Beaumont Hospital as an outpatient to undergo a sequence of further medical tests (blood, urine and radiological tests). We endeavour to complete this evaluation in one day, but it may be necessary to extend it by one to two extra days if further investigations are required. Thus you should allow sufficient time when making travel arrangements.

The donor during this stage will meet with:

  • A Transplant Co-ordinator
  • A Nephrologist
  • A Transplant Surgeon
  • A Social Worker
  • A psychologist (and psychiatrist if deemed appropriate)

The purpose of the above meetings are:

  • To determine that the donor is medically fit to proceed with the work-up process
  • To ensure the donor fully understands the nature and risks of the procedure
  • To ensure you are donating freely and not under any form of coercion
  • To identify any psychological concerns
  • To offer practical advice about the donation process

Potential donor assessments are discussed at a confidential multi-disciplinary team consensus meeting. It is only when the donation is approved by this group, that a date for surgery will be set. Please note that it can take up to 6 months from approval to the actual day of transplant.

If the donor evaluation reveals that treatment is required for a medical condition before donation can be considered, the donor will be expected to return to their country of origin to receive such treatment.


Visa Application

Depending on your circumstances, you may need to apply for a visa. You will need to allow sufficient time to ensure you receive approval prior to attending Beaumont Hospital and to allow time for the operation and recuperation period afterwards. The timescale will be worked out in coordination with the transplant coordinators.

You will find the information you require to apply for your visa on (

Beaumont Hospital will supply a letter containing supporting information for your application.


Stage 3 - Proceeding with transplant

You will be required to attend Beaumont Hospital three days before surgery, to allow for a final medical and surgical review and any final tests to confirm you are still fit to donate:


Follow Up

After surgery, an outpatient appointment will be offered to you, for follow up at 3 weeks. Once you return to your country of residence, any surgical or medical matters will have to be dealt with locally. There is no onus on the Irish health care system to provide you with treatment once you have been discharged after your three week appointment. We will of course be happy to discuss your case with your local doctor if required. We would encourage long term annual review in your own country following transplant.


Financial and Practical Considerations

The cost of your medical treatment, specifically for the purpose of donating a kidney will be covered by the Irish health care system. This is not available once you return to your own country. Any treatment required in Ireland which is not part of the donation process, (e.g. dentistry), is not covered by the Irish health care system. You will need to fund this yourself. Therefore, we advise that you obtain medical insurance (and a European Health Insurance Card if relevant) before you travel.

After the operation you will remain in hospital approximately 4 to 7 days. It is very important to ensure you can stay with family/friends when you are discharged, so you are not living alone during your recovery period after surgery. The operation and recovery period varies from 4 -12 weeks depending on surgery, your individual recovery and the type of work you will be resuming. We recommend that you remain in Ireland to recover in Ireland after the surgery for a minimum of 4 weeks before you travel back to your country of residence.

The Irish Kidney Association has a renal support centre located in the grounds of Beaumont Hospital. It provides free accommodation for limited periods depending on space available. (Irish Kidney Support Centre, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin 9. Telephone +353-1-837 3952)

Click here to download Template Letter for Potential Overseas Donors Template Letter for Potential Overseas Donors