Kidney Transplant

When the kidneys stop working, toxic waste products build up in the body, eventually resulting in end-stage kidney disease. A child who reaches end-stage kidney disease will need either dialysis — a mechanical process for filtering waste products out of blood — or a transplant. Neither of these options cures kidney failure. However, a successful transplant offers the closest thing to a normal state.

UCSF's Organ Transplant Program is a leader in performing kidney and liver transplants in children, attracting patients from throughout the West Coast.

During the evaluation for a kidney transplant, a transplant coordinator will arrange for a series of tests to assess your child's treatment options. The transplant staff will discuss any medical problems that need to be evaluated before the transplant, such as heart disease, infections, bladder dysfunction, ulcer disease or obesity. A social worker will meet with you to assess transportation, housing, financial and family support needs, and a financial counselor will meet with you to ensure you understand the covered benefits of your insurance policy.

We encourage you to ask questions and learn as much as possible about the transplant process before making a decision. You do not need to reach a decision by the end of the session.

Screening Tests

Regardless of the type of kidney your child may receive — from a living donor or a deceased donor — special blood tests are needed to determine your child's kind of blood and tissue. These test results help to match a donor kidney to your child.

Show More

Kidneys for transplantation may come from either living or deceased donors.

Living Donors

In the past, most living kidney donors had a surgical procedure, requiring a large incision to remove the kidney and usually a two-month recovery period. A new procedure, called laparoscopic donor nephrectomy, uses tiny incisions and miniature instruments to remove the kidney. Our team has performed more than 60 of these procedures since November 1999.

Show More

Learn More

UCSF Research & Clinical Trials

Other Resources


Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital.

Related Information

UCSF Clinics & Centers

Organ Transplant

Kidney Transplant Program
1825 Fourth St., Sixth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94158
Phone: (415) 353-8377
Toll-free: (800) 482-7389
Appointment information

Pediatric Dialysis Unit
1825 Fourth St., Fifth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94158
Phone: (415) 353-2425
Fax: (415) 353-2768
Appointment information