Kidney paired donation

Swapping kidney donors for compatible matches

If you have a willing donor who is not a match for you (you and your donor are an incompatible), you and your donor have the option to participate in kidney paired donation (KPD). In KPD programs, multiple incompatible donor/recipient pairs are pooled to identify potential other similar incompatible pairs that can exchange kidneys with other incompatible pairs (a compatible match). For KPD transplants, recipients will exchange (“swap”) donors to achieve a compatible match and allow transplantation to proceed.

Donor Chart

Kidney paired donation programs at UI Hospitals and Clinics

The University of Iowa participates in three different KPD programs (UNOS National KPD, the North Central Donor Exchange Cooperative, and a center-to-center exchange program with Johns Hopkins Hospital), each with different matching schemes, to increase your opportunity to obtain a compatible paired match. You will still remain active on the deceased donor list at the University of Iowa in case a matched kidney comes along.

Both you and your donor will have your surgeries performed at the University of Iowa. Your donor’s kidney will be shipped to the intended recipient, usually by plane, and your new kidney will similarly be removed and shipped to us for implantation into you later the same day. This is a great way to get a live donor kidney even though your intended donor did not work out for you for one reason or another.

Last reviewed: 
May 2017

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