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What is Kidney Transplant?

Kidney transplant or renal transplant is the process where a kidney is surgically removed from a donor and implanted into the patient. The patient may receive a kidney from a family member, a spouse or a close friend. They are known as living-related donors. In addition, the patient can also receive a kidney from a recently deceased person, known as a cadaveric donor or deceased-donor. Transplant is by far the best means of treatment, as the “replacement kidney” can substitute almost fully the lost functions of the failed kidneys, and allow the patient to lead a normal life.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is a Kidney Transplant?
Kidney transplant or renal transplant is the process where a kidney is surgically removed from a donor and implanted into a patient with end-stage renal disease. There are 2 types of kidney transplants – living donor and cadaveric (non-living) donor kidney transplant.
2. What is a Living Donor Kidney Transplant?

Living donor kidney transplant is when one’s living relatives or close friends whose kidneys are compatible donate to the recipient without any money exchanging hands.

The patient may receive a kidney from a family member, a spouse or a close friend. They are known as living-related donors. The most compatible match is usually a sibling, as their genetic make-up may closely match. Living-donor renal transplants are further characterised as genetically related (living-related) or non-related (living-unrelated) transplants, depending on whether a biological relationship exists between the donor and recipient.

For more information on National Organ Donation and Transplant, please visit MOH website.

3. What is done before Kidney Transplant?

Before kidney transplant, doctor will examine and do tests to check overall health of donor and recipient. Both donor and recipients’ health record should meet certain conditions to make Kidney transplant possible.

If living donor is not available then upon assessment of medical conditions, National Transplant wait list placement is done, with which one becomes eligible to receive transplant from non-living donors.

4. What happens after Kidney Transplant surgery?

After kidney transplant surgery, hospital stay is usually for 5-7 days when doctors examine and checks the functioning of new kidney.

Also during this period, the dose of immunosuppressive/ anti –rejection medications are closely monitored and titrated. These immunosuppressive/ anti –rejection medications are to be taken dutifully for the rest of life to help body adjust and own body do not attack the newly placed kidney as external.

5. What are the benefits of a Living Donor Kidney Transplant?
  • Shorter waiting time for a kidney compared to waiting for a kidney from a cadaveric donor
  • Better survival outcomes
6. What is a Cadaveric Donor Kidney Transplant?

It is when a recipient (whose name has been on the National Transplant List) receives a kidney from a deceased donor.

7. How long does one have to wait for a kidney in Singapore?

The average waiting time for kidney transplant is 8 years. To date, there are more than 400 individuals on the waiting list for cadaver renal transplant.

8. Can I live a normal life after a kidney transplant?

Yes. Transplant is by far the best means of treatment, as the “replacement kidney” can substitute almost fully the lost functions of the failed kidneys, and allow the patient to lead a normal life.

9. Are donors with blood types different from the recipient suitable for donating kidneys?

Yes. While a living donor usually must have compatible blood and tissue types with the kidney recipient, medical advancements have made it possible for incompatible blood type transplant where a kidney donor may be eligible to donate a kidney to the recipient with a different blood type, depending on what blood types are involved.

A transplant doctor may find a way to make the kidney last longer for you or find another approach, such as a transplant swap programme involving two living donors and two recipients where the donor from one pair is compatible with the recipient from the other pair and vice versa.

10. Are damaged kidneys removed during a kidney transplant surgery?

In most cases, the diseased kidneys are not removed during the surgery unless there is a repeat infection or caused deterioration of patient’s health.

Transplant patients will begin to experience an improved quality of life post-surgery, allowing them:

  • To regain their freedom to do many things like work or study, have an active social life, travel and are not required to undergo dialysis treatment.
  • Are subjected to less dietary and fluid restrictions as compared to patients on dialysis.

After the kidney transplant, patients will still need to take a lifetime of anti-rejection medicine to prevent the rejection of the new kidney.

11. Can kidney donors still lead a healthy life with one kidney?

Yes. When you donate a kidney to a kidney patient, you can continue to lead a normal and healthy life. Your remaining kidney will take on the work of both kidneys to help remove waste, manage acid balance and regulate blood pressure.

However, it is important to protect it and keep it functioning well because you don’t have a second one to take over if it fails.

Maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating a well-balanced diet, exercising regularly and getting regular checkups with your doctor, to keep your kidney healthy in the long run!

12. What is the cost of a transplant surgery? Is there any form of financial assistance if I cannot afford the cost?

Kidney transplant recipients and donors can generally draw on MediShield Life and Medisave for hospital bills and selected outpatient treatments at public health institutions. Singaporeans can seek further assistance from Medifund.

In addition, the NKF’s “Kidney Live Donor Support Fund” provides financial assistance to living kidney donors for kidney transplant-related medical welfare and insurance. Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents who are referred by the public health institutions and meet NKF’s means test criteria can apply for this Fund.

13. What happens if anti-rejection medications are stopped?

When anti-rejection medications are stopped, which should not be done unless on doctor’s advice, the body rejects and attacks the new kidney which causes significant damage. This roots the new kidney to stops working.

14. Where can I find additional information about kidney transplant?

You may wish to contact the National Organ Transplant Unit in Singapore at (65) 6321 4390 or email to organ.transplant@notu.com.sg. The Unit may be able to assist you with any further information you may need on transplant in Singapore. For more information on organ transplant, please log on to www.moh.gov.sg.

Please note that under Singapore Law, the selling and buying of organs are illegal.

Kidney Live Donor Support Fund

The fund provides financial assistance to needy live kidney donors. Only the recipient is required to pass the NKF means test criteria.

Hope Meets Gratitude

Meet our patients and their loved ones whose remarkable experiences gifted the kidney transplant journey a voice and offered life and hope.

Eating Right for Kidney Transplant Patients

A healthy and balanced diet still plays an important role in maintaining overall health and keeping the transplanted kidney working well.

Keeping Fit for Kidney Transplant Patients

Exercise helps to improve the cardiovascular function of the body, regulates blood pressure, and blood sugar for kidney transplant patients.
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FAQ

General Enquiries

As there are limited car park lots available at NKF Centre visitors may need to park at the nearby HDB car parks in the vicinity.

NKF HQ Mondays –Thursdays
Fridays
PH / Weekends
8.30am –6.00pm
8.30am –5.00pm
Closed
Dialysis Centres Mondays –Saturdays
Sundays
PH
7.00am –11.00pm
Closed
7.00am –11.00pm

We are open on most public holidays except for the 1st day of Chinese New Year.

NKF does not provide ad hoc dialysis treatment. Our patients are on long-term dialysis treatment. You may wish to check with private dialysis centres for ad hoc dialysis treatments.

NKF does not have an outpatient clinic and hence, we are unable to arrange an appointment for members of the public. You may wish to contact a hospital of your choice for outpatient service.

Currently, NKF does not provide health report interpretation service. You may consult your General Practitioner who will be able to assist you.

Someone with kidney failure may not experience any signs and symptoms until it is too late. It is best to do a routine health screening to understand your health status better and detect any abnormalities as early as possible so that you can delay and manage the disease progression.

To know about the signs and symptoms please click here to learn more.

Decreased urination Swollen hands and ankles Sleep disturbances
Blood in the urine (tea-coloured or fresh blood) Puffiness around the eyes High blood pressure
Nausea and vomiting Itching Loss of appetite

All dialysis centres operate on 3 dialysis shifts –morning, noon and evening.

Morning Noon Evening
7.00am –12.00pm 12.00pm – 6.00pm 6.00pm –11.00pm
Timing of your dialysis schedule may vary for each dialysis centres.
Schedules
Monday, Wednesday and Friday (1,3,5) OR Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday (2,4,6)

Admissions

Our Admissions Counsellor will contact you once your application is finalised. They will be in contact with you soon.

From the day we receive the application form, it will take approximately 3 working days to a week for us to get back to you if you have submitted all completed supporting documents together with your application form to us. Generally, the whole process will take 6 months for the approval.

The overall application review process will take approximately 6 months before the applicant can start the first dialysis treatment. However, if the applicant is able to provide all completed supporting documents and if there is a slot available at the dialysis centre with a right match to the time slot, the waiting time could be shorter.

Currently, we do not have status checking service online. NKF Admissions Counsellor will be in contact with the applicants regarding the status.

You may pick it up from the NKF main office at 81 Kim Keat Road, Singapore 328836 or call us at 6506 2187 to have the forms sent to you.

Means Test is used to determine the amount of subsidies each person needing care is eligible for. Persons from lower income households will be granted higher subsidies under the means test framework.

Means Test subsidies calculation is based in accordance to MOH guidelines.

Our NKF Admissions Counsellor in-charge will contact you in regards to your means test status.

The Medical Social Workers at your hospital will be able to advise you on the different type of subsidies based on your financial situation.

Kidney Live Donor Support Fund

For information on kidney donation in Singapore, you may wish to contact the National Organ Transplant Unit at Tel: 6321 4390 or email organ.transplant@notu.com.sg.

NKF’s Kidney Live Donor Support Fund covers annual health screenings and medical follow-ups; one-time reimbursement for loss of 2 months actual income of $8,500, whichever is lower: reimbursement of hospitalisation and surgical insurance premiums (capped at MediShield Life premiums); pre-transplant screening and evaluation costs for up to 2 potential donors per kidney recipient; and insurance coverage for Group Living. Policy based on sum insured of $200,000.

For more information and eligibility, please click here. 

Donation & Volunteering

You can make the donation through different platforms:

  1. For online donation: please visit https://nkfs.org/support-us/donation-programmes/
  2. Or you may like to issue a cheque made payable to “The National Kidney Foundation” or “NKF” and mail it to us at 81 Kim Keat Road, Singapore 328836.
  3. Alternatively, you may contact us at 1800-KIDNEYS (5436397) or email us at lifedrops@nkfs.org to send you the donation form.
  4. Road Singapore 328836.

Thank you for your generosity. The cheque should be issued to “The National Kidney Foundation” or “NKF”.

Thank you for bequeathing your CPF contributions to NKF. You can fill up the CPF nomination form which can be downloaded from the CPF website. NKF’s UEN is 200104750M.

Thank you for your generosity. You may like to visit the Ministry of Law’s website where you can find a list of lawyers based in Singapore. Please visit https://eservices.mlaw.gov.sg/lsra/search-lawyer-or-law-firm/

Our UEN/ Company Registration No. / GST Registration No. is 200104750M.

Please send us an email at lifedrops@nkfs.org or call us at 1800-KIDNEYS (5436397) and we will assist you accordingly.

You may email your new mailing address to lifedrops@nkfs.org , Please include your full name, contact number, old mailing address and UEN or NRIC/FIN (last 3 digits)

You may email us at lifedrops@nkfs.org to get the donation form. Please fill up your new GIRO/credit card number, donation amount and sign the form. Thereafter, post the GIRO form back to NKF for processing.

For credit card, you may wish to scan the form and send it to NKF via either of these options:

Email – lifedrops@nkfs.org

Fax – 6253 0417

Mail – 81 Kim Keat Road, Singapore 328836

Please email us at lifedrops@nkfs.org with your full name, UEN/NRIC/FIN and mailing address.

Please email us at lifedrops@nkfs.org to have the termination form sent to you. Please fill it up and send it back to us for processing and auditing purposes.

All outright cash donations to NKF are entitled to tax deduction because NKF is a registered charity with an IPC (Institutions of Public Character) status. We are able to issue tax deductible receipts for qualifying donations to our donors.

You are entitled to a tax deduction of 2.5 times the value of your donation in the preceding year.

You may sign up via our website at https://onlinereg.nkfs.org/vms/volunteerapplicationform.aspx.

If you do not have access to the internet, please call us at 1800-KIDNEYS (5436397) to have the application form sent to you. Please fill it up and send it back to us at 81 Kim Keat Road Singapore 328836.

Once we receive your application, our colleague from the Donor and Volunteer Management Department will contact you for a phone interview. After which, you will be invited to attend our volunteer orientation. This is to allow you to have a better understanding of the volunteering activities.

The minimum age is 13 years old. For volunteers who are below the age of 21, you will need to get parental consent. You may download the consent form here.

We strongly encourage our volunteers to commit at least a year so that we can better support our patients. Our programmes and activities are flexible, you can choose your volunteering schedule according to your interest and availability.

You may volunteer with us basing on your availability. We will send a weekly email to our volunteers indicating the up-coming volunteering opportunities. You can then match your availability to the activity schedule.

We have an array of volunteering activities to suit your interest and availability. To learn more about the volunteering activities we offer, please visit https://nkfs.org/support-us/volunteer-programmes/.

Anyone and everyone can join us as a volunteer. All applicants will be required to undergo a mandatory orientation session where you will gain insights into the Foundation’s cause, kidney disease as well as learn more about the volunteering activities we offer. Regular trainings are also conducted for all volunteers so that they can better perform their role.

Most definitely! We welcome schools, companies and community groups to volunteer with us as part of their Values In Action and Corporate Social Responsibility activities. Please get in touch with us on your interest by sending an email to volunteer@nkfs.org.

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Notice

Thank you for visiting our website.

Please be informed that our online donation Visa, Mastercard, and Diners/Discover payments will be temporarily unavailable on

Wednesday, 12th June 2024, from 12:00 AM to 02:00 AM for maintenance.

If you have any donation inquiries during this time, please feel free to email us at Lifedrops@nkfs.org.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.