Where Did Your Kidney Donation Take Place?

This goes in the category of interesting, but not particularly informative. I asked the kidney donors who took the survey where their surgery and their recipient’s surgery took place and some people may be interested in seeing the breakdown.

The majority of surgeries took place in the US, with 37 states represented. 5% of the respondents donated outside of the US. Below is a map showing the US locations. The larger the dot, the more surgeries that were reported in that state.

Donor Surgeries by State

And a list of the Top 10 most common surgery locations reported by US survey respondents per state.

Top States for Survey Respondent Surgeries


Which Transplant Center Was Your Surgery?

When I was drafting the survey, I reached out to the Living Donors Online Facebook Group to get input from other donors about what they might want to include in the survey. A few asked if they’d be able to rate their particular transplant center.

I knew the sample size would not be big enough to do anything meaningful (never mind how dangerous it would be for me to try to correlate experiences with a particular center) but I captured it anyway and made a small word cloud:

Visualization of transplant centers represented in the living kidney donor survey.


I think the ask to rate a specific center is pretty telling. There’s a feeling amongst donors that the care donors receive and the process we went through is different from center-to-center. Some may be looking to give praise, while others may want to share ideas for improvement.

That was echoed in some of the write-in feedback from donors at the end of the survey, for example this donor who wrote in to just say “Thank you for the survey. Nobody has ever asked me for my input before, except questions from prospective donors.”

How Far Did Donors Travel?

Among the 273 donors who answered the question, the majority of donors travelled 0-60 miles to the transplant center where their surgery took place.

Distance Traveled to Transplant Center

How Far Did Kidneys Travel?

32 of the 274 donors who answered questions about their surgery noted that either they were unsure of where their kidney ended up or that the recipient’s surgery took place in a different state. Of those who did know where their kidneys were sent, here’s a recap of the pairings:

  • New York to California (2)
  • Virginia to California (1)
  • Washington DC to California (1)
  • Texas to Colorado (1)
  • Arizona to Florida (1)
  • Maryland to Florida (1)
  • Massachusetts to Georgia (1)
  • California to Maryland (1)
  • Oregon to Maryland (1)
  • Pennsylvania to Maryland (2)
  • New York to Massachusetts (1)
  • North Carolina to Michigan (1)
  • Arizona to Minnesota (1)
  • Florida to Minnesota (2)
  • South Carolina to Minnesota (1)
  • Maine to New Jersey (1)
  • Oregon to New York (1)
  • Pennsylvania to New York (1)
  • California to Ohio (1)
  • Maryland to Ohio (1)
  • Massachusetts to Ohio (1)
  • Utah to Texas (1)
  • Wisconsin to Texas (1)
  • Washington to Virginia (1)

This survey is biased. Please be sure to read more About the Survey and About the Sample Bias for additional context on how it was created and who participated.

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