PEOPLE in Wales are being encouraged to consider becoming living organ donors.

In Wales, 31 people became living donors in 2017-18 and around 1,100 living kidney transplants take place in the UK each year.

“Living donation plays a vital role in saving and transforming lives, offering more patients with kidney failure and other diseases the possibility of a successful transplant, said health secretary Vaughan Gething.

“Often, living donors are close relatives or friends but you can still donate an organ to someone you do not know

“I’m proud that we are leading the way on organ donation in Wales, but while there are people dying waiting for a transplant, we must work harder to further increase awareness of the possibility of living donation."

Kidneys are the most common organ donated by living people, but there are approximately 5,000 people waiting for a new kidney on the transplant list in the UK.

A successful transplant from a living donor, rather than one from someone who has died, is the best treatment for most people with kidney failure.

This offers the recipient the best opportunity of success, as 82 per cent of kidneys donated by a living donor will still be working after 10 years. This compares with 75 per cent for kidneys transplanted from deceased donors. Other advantages include:

• Reduced waiting time as transplants can take place sooner, when the intended recipient is healthier, aiding recovery;

• The possibility of avoiding dialysis altogether, increasing the recipients life-span following a transplant.

Other organs that can be donated by a living person include part of a liver, a segment of a lung and part of the small bowel.

“Donating a kidney is a very personal decision and is not something everyone feels comfortable with. Only you can decide if it’s something you would like to volunteer to do," said Mike Stephens, a consultant transplant and organ retrieval surgeon at the University Hospital of Wales (UHW) in Cardiff.

“Healthy people who wish to help a loved one or a stranger with kidney disease may volunteer to give a kidney.

“Generally people who receive a kidney from a living donor live for longer than those who receive one from a deceased donor and much longer than they would be expected to live if they did not receive a kidney transplant.

“Living kidney donation allows the operation to be planned at a time that is convenient for the recipient, donor and clinical team.”

Ann Marsden, who a living donor transplant co-ordinator at UHW, has helped arrange more than 500 life-saving kidney transplants involving living donors over the past 16 years.

“Living kidney donation can often be the best long-term form of treatment for a patient with kidney disease, especially if the transplant can be performed before the need for kidney dialysis," she said.

“The operation success rate is excellent and patients receiving a kidney from a living donor can expect to benefit from a fully functioning kidney for 15 to 20 years on average.”

People who want to consider becoming a living donor may contact the live transplant co-ordinator on 029 2074 6432 or e-mail