The initial clinical trials of pig solid organ xenotransplantation (XTx) are drawing closer and could begin in the coming years. The first clinical trials may aim to transplant genetically-modified pig kidneys into adult humans. The impetus for beginning these first-in-human trials is the severe lack of deceased donor kidneys for transplantation and the number of patients with end-stage renal disease currently on transplant waitlists, which in the USA approaches 100 000. The majority of patients on the kidney transplant waitlist receive continuous renal replacement therapy. In the United States, for patients on the kidney waitlist, the median wait-time to receive a deceased human donor organ is approximately 4.5 years for patients aged 45–74, with a 5-year mortality (or removal from the waitlist because of deteriorating health) of approximately 40%. XTx has the potential to reduce the kidney waitlist morbidity and mortality while improving quality of life. By focusing on scientific and psychosocial criteria, we present ethical considerations of certain inclusion and exclusion criteria for these first-in-human clinical trials that we suggest have not yet been fully explored.