As the number of living kidney donations in the United States increases, it is important to continue to assess the manner in which potential living donors are evaluated and selected. Ethical issues can be framed using principles that are understandable to patients and physicians. Existing evidence suggests that, for most suitable donors, the short- and long-term risks of kidney donation are small enough to be outweighed by the potential benefits to the donor and recipient. A thorough but efficient evaluation of potential living donors, as outlined in this review, can effectively minimize the risks. However, mechanisms to provide long-term follow-up of all living donors are still needed. Appropriate surveillance mechanisms not only will minimize any long-term risks to individuals who have already donated a kidney but will also provide the data needed to accurately assess the risk, however small, for future donors. With or without these data, living donations will likely continue to play an increasingly important role in renal transplantation.