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Kidney Exchange Programs

Kidney Exchange Programs If you need a kidney transplant, a kidney from a living donor is the best option for many reasons:

  • You will not have to wait as long for a transplant
  • You might be able to avoid going on dialysis
  • Kidneys from living donors last longer

Unfortunately about 1/3 of patients who have someone willing to donate a kidney cannot receive it because they are not a medical “match” (or compatible). The Maine Transplant Program belongs to two national ” kidney exchange programs” which exist to help these people. If someone needs a kidney transplant and has a living donor who is not medically compatible, they can register with thes programs so that an “exchange” can be arranged with other living donor/kidney patients.

The Kidney Paired Donation (KPD) Program is run by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). The Maine Transplant program was a founding member of the original regional exchange program that was the model used by UNOS to develop the current national program.

The National Kidney Registry(NKR) is a non-profit organization based in New York dedicated to the saving and improving the lives of people facing kidney failure by increasing the quality, speed, and number of living donor transplants in the world. This group has been more successful than UNOS in matching donors with recipients and promoting transplantation. The Maine Transplant Program joined the NKR in October 2013.