How Does Kidney Paired Donation (KPD) Work?

Paired Donation can work in a few different ways.  According to the Living Kidney Donor Network, the concept of kidney paired exchanges have revolutionized living donor transplants by “eliminating incompatibility as a barrier to donation and providing a way for recipients and their incompatible donor to be paired with another incompatible recipient and donor.”

This video from UNOS illustrates a 6-way swap paired exchange, it is donation coming full circle.  3 people need a transplant, and each has a willing donor that is incompatible to donate to them.  They essentially have an organ swap resulting in 6 surgeries and 3 transplants.


When you have a non-directed donor starting the process (like in my case), it can keep paying forward vs. coming full circle.   One nice thing about this chain, is that there is a person on the transplant wait-list who gets a transplant out of the deal- this person is winning the “organ lottery,” and likely isn’t expecting this scenario to play out.


The Alliance for Paired Kidney Donation and the Living Kidney Donor Network have great information about the different types of paired donations.  WaitList Zero is a great organization promoting living donation as well.  All worth checking out if you are interested in living donation!

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