As a Birmingham hospital celebrates performing its 200th live kidney transplant, Health Reporter Emma Brady spoke to two women whose lives have been changed by the pioneering procedure...
There were a few tears when Lisa Beardsmore and Mary Hibbs met on a renal ward at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in Edgbaston, yesterday.
Twenty-six-year-old Miss Beardsmore, from Stoke-onTrent, became the 200th patient to receive a live kidney transplant at the hospital last week.
But meeting Mrs Hibbs, aged 33, of Coven Heath, near Wolverhampton - the first person to undergo the operation at the QE and now three months pregnant - was "emotional".
Miss Beardsmore, who received her new kidney from fiance Craig McKinlay, said: "This proves it works, that you can have your life back and look to the future."
Diagnosed with renal failure in June 2004, doctors initially attributed her severe headaches and sickness to a virulent bug, until blood tests revealed the truth.
"Straight away Craig said he wanted to be my donor, but I never thought we'd be a compatible match - luckily he was," said Miss Beardsmore.
"Two weeks later he proposed, but then a few days after that he was rushed to hospital with appendicitis."
Last week, two months after her father died and Mr McKinlay lost his second job through caring for his fiancee, the couple went into theatre together.
"I couldn't believe he was actually going to go through with it, he's one in a million; in fact, no, he's one in a lifetime," she added.
"It's a shame when you see people on dialysis, because they've got no real quality of life and they know it could be years before they get a donor organ.
"So I would tell anyone thinking of doing something so selfless for someone they love to get tested, because you won't just be helping them but also their whole family."
More people can benefit from live organ donation as patients and donors are matched by blood rather than tissue type to avoid adverse reactions.
This procedure can also reduce waiting time if a compatible donor is found, which no longer has to be a blood relative.
Patients waiting for cadaveric organs can be on a list for years until a suitable heart, lung, or kidney is available.
Mrs Hibbs waited three years for her first kidney transplant after she was diagnosed with kidney reflux when she was eight years old.
After receiving another transplant, from her mother, she was then given a third transplant, this time from her sister.
Proudly displaying her 12-week old 'bump', Mrs Hibbs said: "I feel like my mum, my sister and the team here all played a part in my becoming pregnant as a result of my last two transplants.
"I think I've been very lucky to be able to benefit from new developments like this, and I would tell anybody thinking about donating to do it.
"You have no idea what it means to the recipients and their families. Lisa is just starting her journey - I felt I was looking at myself ten years ago when I met her."
Andrew Ready, a consultant renal surgeon, was preparing to perform the 201st live kidney transplant at the hospital yesterday.
"When we performed the first live transplant on Mary and her mother we were somewhat trepidatious, but it was a successful first step.
"We now talk to all our patients about considering live donation, because now we're almost able to take a kidney from anybody with the help of drug therapy."
Kate Green, of Stechford, Birmingham, was born with polycystic kidneys but her condition was not diagnosed until she was 26.
The 44-year-old was yesterday preparing to go into theatre with her mother, Ann Elliot-Wall, who had flown from Bruchac, in France, to be her daughter's donor.
"I'm in the last stages of renal failure and, unless my mum hadn't offered to be a donor, I'd still be on the waiting list," she said.
"It's taken over a year to get to this point. I'm so unbelievably grateful for what she's doing. We're very close anyway, but this will really strengthen that bond."