Organ / Tissue Donation and Transplantation

Canada’s ground-breaking Living Donor Paired Exchange (LDPE) registry recently celebrated its 100th transplant, a landmark milestone achieved less than one year after becoming Canada’s first fully national organ donation registry.

The LDPE, which operates as a partnership between Canadian Blood Services and transplant programs across the country, facilitates living kidney donations between patients with a willing but incompatible donor and other pairs in the same situation. In the short time since its launch the LDPE has become a shining example of what can happen when programs work together, across provincial boundaries for the benefit of patients.

Perhaps most astonishing is that almost 70 per cent of the transplants related to the LDPE can be attributed to the incredible generosity of non-directed anonymous donors (NDADs), individuals who have come to the registry unpaired; willing to donate a kidney to anyone in need.

People like Erin Taylor.

The 30-year-old nurse and long-time blood donor had always thought that if the opportunity presented itself, she would be ready to donate a kidney to someone in need.

“As a nurse I know that you can live a perfectly normal life with only one kidney,” she says, “and if that gift can help someone else get their life back, it’s a decision I feel good about.”

An avid roller derby player, Erin didn’t have any concern about returning to the sport she loves after recovering from surgery, and the support of her family, teammates and coworkers has been nothing short of overwhelming.

“Initially they had a lot of questions, of course they did,” she says. “They needed to understand why I felt so strongly about doing this. And they have been so very supportive. They’ve been there to help at all phases of the recovery, and they’ve become real advocates for the importance of organ donation in this country. In my professional life I see the impact the shortage of available organs has every day. I’m proud that I could help make a difference.”

As of the end of October, the LDPE has 247 donor-recipient pairs registered in the system as well as 25 NDADs. The registry continues to grow across the country, and with each new pair the chances of someone finding the match they need increases.