One donor, two transplants: willingness to participate in altruistically unbalanced exchange donation


Ms L. W. Kranenburg, Department of Medical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Erasmus University Medical Center, PO Box 1738, 3000 DR Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Tel.: +31 10 408 7810; fax: +31 10 408 9420;


Kidney exchange donation programs offer a good solution to help patients with a willing, but incompatible living kidney donor. Literature shows that blood type O patients are less likely to be selected for transplantation within a living exchange donation program. ‘Altruistically unbalanced donation’ could help these blood type O patients: one donor-recipient pair is incompatible (e.g. A-donor > O-recipient) and the other pair is compatible, but not identical (e.g. O-donor > A-recipient). Exchanging these kidneys would result in two compatible living donor kidney transplants. We studied whether compatible pairs would be willing to participate in such procedure. We included 96 living kidney donors and recipients in our study. These donors and recipients could be divided into two groups: (i) donors and their direct recipients (n = 48), and (ii) paired exchange donors and their intended recipients (n = 48). All were asked whether they would be willing to participate in altruistically unbalanced exchange donation, as long as direct donation was also an option. We found no group differences. We found that one third of the donors and recipients are willing to participate in altruistically unbalanced kidney exchanges. Therefore this form of donation may be a feasible addition to already existing living kidney exchange programs.