Organ / Tissue Donation and Transplantation

The Kidney Paired Donation program is an interprovincial program operated collaboratively between Canadian Blood Services and Canada’s living kidney donation and kidney transplant programs. The program gives altruistic kidney donors like Nathalie Randall the chance to donate, adding new donors to the national pool and ultimately giving recipients a better chance of finding a match.

The registry contains medical information about incompatible pairs of donors and recipients from across Canada and identifies pairs that might be able to exchange kidneys. From there, it’s a matter of finding a suitable exchange and creating “chains” of donors and recipients. There are different types of donor and recipient chains: some are straightforward swaps (called a “paired exchange”), some involve multiple donor–recipient pairs (called a “paired chain”), and some include non-directed anonymous donors and people on the waitlist (called a “domino chain”).

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Much of the success of the program can be attributed to the selflessness of non-directed anonymous donors who make domino exchanges possible.

Before the Kidney Paired Donation program, Canada didn’t have a national, coordinated system for kidney donation and transplantation. Programs or provinces operated their own registries or partnered with another program or province, but their pools of potential donors were limited to their programs or provinces. Through the national registry, patients across the country now have access to a larger pool of potential donors, which gives them a better chance of finding a match.

Since January 2009, 365 living donors across Canada have donated kidneys through the national program. Of these donors, 68 were non-directed anonymous donors.

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