How It Works
What happens when you find someone willing to donate a kidney to you – but it isn’t a good match? Not too long ago, that would mean the search would need to continue until a suitable match was found.
There is, however, an emerging strategy for overcoming this hurdle. It’s called Paired Kidney Donation. In its simplest form, it involves two donor-recipient pairs who exchange donors (assuming each is a match for the other). It does not matter if they are a man or woman, just a good match for the candidate. In general it would look like this:
Using new software which takes into account many of the variables involved in a kidney transplant (blood type, HLA crossmatch, etc.), several institutions have been able to match three or more donor-recipient pairs. These matches are called “domino transplants” or "chains”. Normally they start with a non-directed donor (someone who wants to give a kidney out of the goodness of their heart without having a specific recipient in mind) and end when the last paired donor in the chain donates to an unpaired recipient on the deceased donor waiting list.