Difficulty in attracting live kidney donors may be related to fears regarding both the surgical procedure for kidney harvesting and future failure of the remaining kidney. We conducted a cross-sectional study of households in Maryland to identify public disincentives to living related kidney donation. In multivariate analyses, we assessed the independent effects of several factors on willingness to donate a kidney to a sibling. We also assessed thresholds for factors above which persons would not donate a kidney. Of 385 participants, 66% were extremely willing to donate to a sibling. After adjustment, those who considered the length of a hospital stay, out-of-pocket expenses, size and appearance of a scar, the time it takes to get to the transplant center, and the donor risk of developing kidney failure very important had 50-60% less odds of being extremely willing to donate. Median acceptable levels for risk of complications, hospital stay, compensated and uncompensated time from work, time requiring pain medications, and out-of-pocket expenses were greater than levels from clinical evidence regarding both laparoscopic and open nephrectomy. Unrealistic concerns among the general public regarding live donation may serve as potential disincentives to donation. Efforts to educate the public regarding live donation might help assuage fears and attract those who may not otherwise donate.