register on the online portal� this is reviewed by the transplant team , who schedule acomprehensive workup , �-rays , CT scans and ameeting with ateam that includes a social worker , advocate and nutritionist . The donor gets in-depth education into the process and learns the risks from a medical and surgical perspective , as well as what to expect inthe future .
“ We do require that the donor takes the first steps ,” says Charlton . “ We don ’ t want anyone to feel pressured or coerced .”
Charlton notes that “ The desire has always been there to help family members ,” but in recent years , outreach programs , shorter hospital stays due to laparoscopic and robotic surgeries for donors , and the hospital ’ s connection to the National �idney �egistry have upped the number of altruistic donations �ones from people who want to give to anyone in need , anywhere in the country .
Due to the hospital ’ s partnership with the N�� , “ If someone wanted akidney transplant at��MC but the donor ’ s in Arizona , the living donor can remotely donate and have the organ shipped to us ,” says Goldstein .
A larger network allows for more matches between people who don ’ t know each other , and the chance for paired exchanges , or “ swaps .” In these cases , two pairs of donors who are incompatible with their intended recipients exchange organs .
“ It ’ s asimple swap , but in amore complicated one , a non-directed or altruistic donor gives to a pool of recipients , paying it forward ,” says Goldstein . This act of giving can spark a chain of donations . According to Guinessworldrecords . com , the current record for kidney transplants in a single chain stands at 35 .
Living donors get rewards beyond personal gratification , too .“ If you donate to an organization that ’ s a member of the N�� , you receive asuite of protections called Donor Shield ,” says Ned Brooks , who became an altruistic donor five years ago , started a kidney donation chain and founded the non-profit National �idney Donor Organization to educate prospective living kidney donors . “ You get term life insurance , adisability policy , coverage for medical complications and wage reimbursements .”
At ��MC , altruistic donors also receive a voucher transferable to anyone they choose . “ If achild is born into afamily with kidney disease , a parent could donate a kidney early in their lifespan so the voucher could be used by achild inthe future ,” says Goldstein . Should they ever develop kidney disease themselves , they go to the top of the �nited Network of Organ Sharing list . ❖
�or more information , go to these resources� n�sharingnetwork�org� unos�org� kidneyregistry�org� kidneytransplantcenters�org