Use of child-to-parent (CTP) kidney donation may be limited because of ethical concerns as well as doubts about its effectiveness. We used the United Network for Organ Sharing database to examine the effectiveness of CTP kidney donation compared with other types of living-related (LD) kidney donation and to cadaveric kidney donation. Data from 56 873 kidney transplants performed between 1988 and 1998 showed significantly greater transplant and patient survival for CTP kidney transplants compared with cadaveric kidney transplants. The average gain in kidney transplant half-life is 3.6 years for a CTP compared with a cadaveric kidney transplant, and it is estimated that this gain for the recipient far outweighs the 1 in 3000 risk of death to the donor associated with kidney donation. We conclude that CTP kidney donation should not be discouraged, and represents a useful source of transplantable kidneys.