The Washington Regional Voluntary Living Donor Program offers different options (see below) to potential donors than are available through a local transplant center. The process (see below) is designed to protect the health of both donor and recipient. All donations made through the program benefit the entire waiting list of WRTC's service area.
WRTC's first living donor, Harold Mintz,
- Living Donor Paired Exchange: Suppose someone wants to donate a kidney to a relative or friend, but cannot because they aren't compatible. If another pair in the same predicament is found, an exchange may be possible. Having this option centralized through the organ procurement organization increases the opportunities for exchanges to be made. This is also the preferred method by UNOS, it is highly recommended to maximize the number of kidneys available for transplant.
- Voluntary Non-Directed Donation: (otherwise knowm as Non-Designated Kidney Donation) An individual volunteers to donate a kidney to the list of waiting patients, with no specific recipient in mind)
Living Donation Update
As the organizational pioneer of living donation exchanges to the waiting list in the OPO world, WRTC is proud to announce that UNOS has decided to discontinue the need for OPO-driven living donation swap programs. This is due to the fact that there are now more paired living donor exchanges performed every year by transplant center consortioums throughout the nation. NOTE: Interested citizens may still donate a kidney to the local waiting list via WRTC's Voluntary Living Donor Program.
Restrictions: Because this is a pilot program, any potential recipient for the swap or exchange options being brought to the program by a potential donor must have been listed on the kidney transplant waiting list at one of the transplant centers in our area before January 1, 2001. Living kidney donors may live outside the area.
Living kidney donor Gwen Pegram
Process of donation
- Call the Washington Regional Transplant Community (WRTC) at (703) 641-0100 to express interest in the Program.
- You will be sent a great deal of information to help you determine whether you wish to go through the evaluation process.
- THe process includes a medical/social history form to fill out. This will be reviewed by a panel of physicians. If the form is approved by the physicians, you will then be given a consent form and other documentation to review, understand and complete.
- WRTC will then arrange for you to have psychological and medical evaluations. The psychological evaluation will be done by and independent psychiatrist. The medical evaluations can generally be performed at one of the area transplant centers.
- After the evaluation is completed, reviewed by a panel of physicians and approved, you will be matched with a recipient on the local waiting list. The recovery of your kidney and the transplant will be scheduled at a time convenient to both you and the recipient.
- The recipient's insurance or Medicare typically pays all medical costs for the donor's medical evaluation, surgery, hospitalization, anesthesia, doctors' fees, initial pain medication and follow up care. However, other costs, such as transportation and time lost from work, are typically not reimbursed.
- If the potential kidney donor lives outside the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, it may still be possible to participate in the program, although the actual donation would still have to take place at one of the D.C. area transplant centers. The donor would have to travel to D.C. prior to the surgery and all costs associated with travel and lodging would be at the donor's expense.
- The testing process could take a minimum of 45 days, but takes longer and varies widely because of scheduling issues, including the fact that WRTC schedules the surgery with the surgeon of the donor's choice.
- If you donate to someone anonymously either through non-directed donation or exchange, both your name and your recipient's name will remain confidential. There is no pressure for either party to contact the other. The donor and recipient must agree to the possibility of never meeting or even knowing the other's name. After the donation, however, some living kidney donors and recipients do choose to correspond anonymously by letters sent through WRTC. To do this, or to meet in person, both parties would have to waive their right to confidentiality.