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The Kidney Transplant Program at Boston Children’s Hospital is the only program in New England entirely focused on pediatric patients. We offer specialized and comprehensive care to children, adolescents, and young adults with end-stage renal disease.

The program is closely integrated with Boston Children’s Division of Nephrology and is part of Boston Children’s Pediatric Transplant Center, which combines the efforts of specialists in heart, lung, liver, intestine and multivisceral, and kidney transplantation, where the experience from one transplant program can assist with the outcomes of another. Since the program’s inception in 1971, the team has performed more than 800 kidney transplants.

Pediatric focus

The conditions leading to transplant in children are typically different than those leading to transplant in adults. Together, we bring pediatric expertise to the diagnosis and treatment of every condition resulting in end-stage renal disease in children, and we use this expertise to avoid or delay transplant when possible. When kidney transplantation is the best option, we will ensure your child is in the best possible health for a successful transplant.

Our team understands the challenges of compliance. We know how to talk to kids about the importance of adhering to their medication schedule as they transition from adolescents to adults.

We offer the only dedicated pediatric dialysis unit in New England, which means we are able to provide the highest possible quality care for young patients requiring dialysis and perform transplants under optimal conditions.

Our kidney transplant team played an instrumental role in changing the way pediatric patients were listed on the organ waiting list. Thanks to our efforts, patients 18 years and younger now receive priority listing.

Kidney Transplant Program team approach

Our comprehensive evaluation process involves patient family consultations with many specialists, including those in nephrology, urology, infectious disease, psychology, pharmacy, nutrition, and more. This process will be managed by one of our kidney transplant coordinators to make it as easy as possible on your family.

Non-directed donor program

Many living organ donors are parents, other family members, or adult family friends of children in need. However, these options are not enough to support every child in need of a transplant.

Did you know that complete strangers can also donate organs? These living donors are called non-directed donors. They do not know the child in need but want to help them by donating a piece of their own liver or a single kidney.

Many adults between ages 18 and 55 can be considered for non-directed donation. These adults must be healthy, with no liver disease and no major medical problems. Once a match is made and surgery is complete, donors are able to completely recover within a few weeks and can go back to their regular lives — knowing they just changed the life of a child in need.

For more on becoming a non-directed donor, please contact the Pediatric Transplant Center at 877-894-7337 or email us at

Living donor program

The kidney transplant team encourages living donor transplantation whenever possible. A kidney transplanted from a living donor offers distinct advantages compared to that of a deceased donor. There is a shorter wait time for the recipient, a faster recovery — because in most cases living donor kidneys begin functioning immediately — and there is growing evidence that living donor kidneys last longer. Our program collaborates with Brigham and Women’s Hospital, also in Boston, where adult donor surgeries take place.

For living donor/recipient pairs who are incompatible, a United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) program matches incompatible donor-recipient pairs through a nationwide pool. The program allows a recipient, who has a willing donor that is not an appropriate match, to swap with another recipient-donor pair.

Research and innovation

Boston Children’s has the largest number of National Institutes of Health-sponsored pediatric kidney transplant research protocols in the world. Researchers are working to improve anti-rejection medication protocols with the goal of promoting optimal transplant outcomes, while reducing unwanted side effects and complications. Learn more about our latest research.