© 2019 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. The role of complement in xenotransplantation is well-known and is a topic that has been reviewed previously. However, our understanding of the immense complexity of its interaction with other constituents of the innate immune response and of the coagulation, adaptive immune, and inflammatory responses to a xenograft is steadily increasing. In addition, the complement system plays a function in metabolism and homeostasis. New reviews at intervals are therefore clearly warranted. The pathways of complement activation, the function of the complement system, and the interaction between complement and coagulation, inflammation, and the adaptive immune system in relation to xenotransplantation are reviewed. Through several different mechanisms, complement activation is a major factor in contributing to xenograft failure. In the organ-source pig, the detrimental influence of the complement system is seen during organ harvest and preservation, for example, in ischemia-reperfusion injury. In the recipient, the effect of complement can be seen through its interaction with the immune, coagulation, and inflammatory responses. Genetic-engineering and other therapeutic methods by which the xenograft can be protected from the effects of complement activation are discussed. The review provides an updated source of reference to this increasingly complex subject.