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The Different Ways You Can Get a Kidney Donor

A kidney transplant is done when a patient is undergoing kidney failure and will soon lose complete kidney function. 85% of patients waiting for an organ transplant in the US usually wait for a kidney. On average, it takes 3 to 5 years to receive a kidney from a deceased donor, and live donations are even harder to match.

Considering the grim reality, kidney patients waiting for a donor need to understand what options they have right now. It's also critical to understand the benefits and risks involved in the process.

For kidney donors, benefits include saving someone's life and re-evaluating their own health. Additionally, it's possible to live a quality life with only one kidney—which is a common apprehension for donors.

This article will discuss how you can get a kidney donor and what the procedure is to seek one.

Types of Kidney Donation

There are two types of kidney donation methods that you can use to seek a kidney—Living Donation and Deceased Donation.

Living Donation

It's a method in which a living kidney donor decides to donate to another human being. It is an excellent method for time-sensitive cases and decreases the risk of rejection (which happens due to a genetic mismatch). Under this, there are different routes through which kidney donation can happen:

1. Directed Donation

In this case, the donor's name is specified when the donation is taking place. It's usually done in cases where a direct match is found, and it can either be genetic (parents, siblings, children) or non-genetic (friends, spouse, extended family). It's recommended too because of the ease of finding a match.

2. Non-directed or Altruistic Donation

Non-directed donation happens when the kidney donor is unsure of the final recipient, as they're usually donating as part of a donation drive. Any potential match is based on the genetic compatibility of the donor and recipient. In some cases, they both may meet if the hospital policies allow it.

3. Paired Donation

Also known as donor exchange, the recipients trade donors with other recipients. This method is used when there are multiple donors and recipients, but they are not a match for each other. But it allows cross-country donations to happen.

For example, Henry needs a kidney, and his wife, Sarah, would like to donate, but they're not a match. On the other hand, Lily needs a kidney, and her son Mark wants to donate, but they're not a match. If Mark and Henry's and Sarah and Lilly's blood profiles match, they can proceed with the exchange process.

Deceased Donation

This method is used when donors die unexpectedly but have already agreed to donate their organs before. It happens through the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN), operated by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).

Kidney Allocation System (KAS)

Launched in 2014, it uses a scoring system called the estimated post-transplant survival score (EPTS). It's based on criteria such as age, diabetes status, dialysis experience, and organ donation experience.

After which, the potential to donate a kidney is calculated based on the Kidney Donor Profile Index (KDPI) score. This score is based on age, height, weight, cause of death, medical history, blood profile, and more. Here, the donations are strictly anonymous.

Final Thoughts

If you're looking for a kidney donor, these methods will help you out in your search for one. When in doubt, always consult your doctor before taking any steps. Contact us today if you're looking to get started on your search for a donor.

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