Organ transplantation — the surgical removal of a healthy organ from one person and its transplantation into another person whose organ has failed or was injured — is often lifesaving and gives the recipient a wonderful new lease on life.
Living donors are arranged through the individual transplant centers, according to UNOS. Another option, if you need a kidney transplant, is to contact the National Kidney Foundation’s National Donor Family Council.
Your living organ donor can be a spouse or other family member or an unrelated person such as a friend, Spicer says. The potential living donor’s blood is tested to see if they are compatible with the recipient.
But even if the blood types are not compatible, you may be able to find a program that allows proxy donors. This is when someone who doesn’t match the intended donor can still donate the organ for someone else’s use, and the intended donor goes to the top of the transplant list.
Another possibility is called paired kidney exchange in which recipients who have donors that are not compatible can enter programs where they are able to “swap” donors.
Those who need a transplant often ask if they can buy an organ. The answer is simple: No. In the United States, it is a felony to buy an organ.