April is Organ Donor Awareness Month
People who have experienced kidney failure as a result of living with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) have three options for treatment: dialysis, kidney transplant from a deceased donor, or kidney transplant from a living donor. While dialysis performs the functions that healthy kidneys normally would, it is a temporary solution.
Kidney transplant from a deceased donor is a preferred alternative; unfortunately the demand for kidneys far outweighs the supply of organs available for transplant. In October 2012, there were 6,421 candidates in Pennsylvania on the waiting list for a kidney transplant.
Living kidney donation is an important consideration as a way to reduce the wait for a life-saving transplant. Kidneys from living donors last an average of 25 years, compared to 15 years for kidneys that come from a deceased donor.
Types of Living Kidney Donation
Living related donation: the living donor directs the donation to a specific recipient who is a blood relative (such as a parent, child, or sibling). UNOS data for living kidney donations made since 1988 shows about 75% were living related donations.
Living unrelated donation: the living donor directs the donation to a specific recipient who is not a blood relative (such as a spouse, a friend, or co-worker). About 24% of living kidney donations since 1988 were living unrelated donations.
Living non-directed donation: a recipient is selected from a list of compatible people on a kidney waiting list; also called "anonymous" donation since the donor and recipient do not necessarily ever meet. Only about 1% of living kidney donations are non-directed.
Paired exchange: an incompatible recipient/donor pair is matched with a second incompatible recipient/donor pair, and the recipients exchange donors.
For more information about organ donation or becoming a living kidney donor, contact the Kidney Foundation of Central Pennsylvania .