Paired Kidney Donation
When a living donor’s kidney is incompatible with the patient in need, the Paired Kidney Exchange Program can provide a solution.
Our kidney transplant program participates in one such paired exchange program, called the National Kidney Registry.
Effectively a “kidney swap,” this program helps to make more kidney transplants possible by expanding the pool of potential
living kidney donors.
A successful kidney transplant relies in part on the donor and recipient having compatible blood types. The recipient also cannot have antibodies that would kill cells in the donated kidney, a problem that can be identified before surgery through crossmatch tests.
If you and a potential donor have incompatible blood types, or if the crossmatch tests are positive for likely organ rejection, the Paired Kidney Exchange Program helps to identify another donor/recipient pair with the same problem. The donor in each pair then gives his kidney to the transplant recipient in the other pair.
For instance, a donor with type-B blood and recipient with type-A blood are paired with a donor with type-A blood and a recipient with type-B blood. The donor in the first pair gives a kidney to the recipient in the second pair, and vice versa.
Compatible pairs may also opt to enter into the paired exchange in order to optimize the number of transplants that can occur and can ask for more information if interested. This arrangement provides all of the benefits of living donation. Every participant in a paired exchange also gets a psychological benefit. The recipients can experience positive feelings knowing that their new kidneys came from caring strangers. The donors also gain the satisfaction of helping to improve the recipients’ health.
For more information about paired exhange kidney transplant, read the OPTN Kidney Paired Donation Pilot Program document by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).