Kidney Transplants

Parliament has passed a bill to pay reasonable costs for live donors who give their kidney or part of their liver to another person. Donors can be paid their regular employment pay for 12 weeks to give them time to recover. Usually the operation is done in a public hospital so it is free for the donor and recipient.

Giving a kidney to another person involves an operation and can take some time to recover. Most people who give a kidney or part of their liver, donate this to a family member. A few altruistic people give a kidney to an unknown recipient.

New Zealand has about 600 people waiting for a kidney transplant but only just over 100 transplants are done every year. Most of these people waiting are on dialysis which means they sit for hours maybe 3 or 4 days a week attached to a machine which cleans their blood. A kidney transplant, if it is successful, can change someone’s life and it is also a cheaper option for the Health Board.

New Zealand has a very low number of organ donations from people who died in comparison with many other countries. Although we may have ‘Donor’ written on our driver’s licence that is not enough. If a healthy person dies as a result of an accident, it’s the decision of the family that matters. It’s important to talk to your family about your wishes in such a situation.


• transplant (n, v)– move from one place to another
• organ transplant – taking an organ of the body like a heart, lungs, kidney, liver from one person and putting it into the body of another person
• donor – a person who gives (related words: donation – a gift; to donate – to give)
• recipient – the receiver of a gift, someone who receives
• altruistic (adj) – showing unselfish concern for other people
• dialysis – treatment of kidney disease using a machine to cleanse the blood

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