Advantages of Paired Donation

Advantages of Paired Kidney Donation

As discussed in the Living Donation section of this site, living kidney donations traditionally provide better patient outcomes and increased kidney survival compared to deceased kidney donation. Unfortunately, almost half of donor candidates are found to be incompatible with their potential recipient. In the past, this meant having to wait for a deceased kidney donation.

It is estimated 1 in 5 individuals with an incompatible living donor(s) can find a suitable donor-recipient pair, making a living donor transplant possible. When living transplants take place, it also frees up spots on the deceased donor kidney waiting list.

The more people who participate, the better are the chances that lives can be saved. Some estimates show paired donation could account for an additional 3,000 living donor kidney transplants per year.

Paired Kidney Donation Programs in the United States

There are a number of transplant centers who participate in regional exchange programs across the country.  Participation varies from center to center. Setting up paired kidney donation programs is no easy task. Coordinating logistics between facilities is challenging. Additionally, most procedures take place at roughly the same time so a large amount of resources (surgical suites, staff, etc.) need to be available as well.

While some paired kidney donation centers share lists with other centers, there is currently no national system.  However, participating transplant centers continue to grow their programs by gathering more potential kidney transplant candidates.

The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) is working on creating a national Paired Kidney Donation program.  According to the organization, testing began in the fall of 2009 with the hopes of implementing a fully automated system open to all OPTN/UNOS approved kidney transplantation programs in the fourth quarter of 2010.

There are also several organizations not associated with transplant centers who are trying to improve the odds and frequency of living kidney donation.  

To help you gather information about Paired Kidney Donation programs, we have developed a list of the programs, along with some of the basic information about each.  As we learn of more programs or networks, we will add them to this list.  If you are aware of any programs not on this list, send an email to providing information about that program. We will do our research and, if deemed legitimate, the program will be added to the list.

Please note this list is provided for informational purposes only and in no way constitutes an endorsement of any of these programs. This list was created by contacting these organizations and asking a series of general questions to collect information about the program. The PKD Foundation does not assume any responsibility for the actions or activities of any of these programs. 




Number of kidney transplants performed in the United States. Learn More