So, for starters, my blood type is O+, so my donor kidney will need to be O+ as well.
HOWEVER....if you're blood type is NOT O+, there's still hope! If you are interested in donating and are otherwise determined to be healthy, but aren't a blood type match, you can be involved in a paired kidney donation. I took this graphic off of the Mayo website.
In this example, Recipient 1 has a person (Donor 1) interested in being a kidney donor (this could be a friend, relative, spouse, parent, child, etc) but can't donate due to different blood types or antibodies. Recipient 2 and Donor 2 are in the same situation. These 2 parties can enter the paired exchange, where Recipient 1 would receive Donor 2's kidney, and Recipient 2 would receive Donor 1's kidney. This is all done via database, so there isn't any personal effort involved in finding a match. The only effort is involved is signing up and donating. When you hear stories of multiple-chain donations, this is the process they're referring to. Altruistic donors, meaning people who just donate to anyone anonymously, can start a significant chain that can, technically, go on indefinitely.
Once you express interest to Mayo regarding donation, you'll be mailed a packet of info containing an order for a blood draw that you can do locally, as well as a kit for a saliva swab. That information is then sent back to Mayo where they run initial testing. If you are deemed a viable donor from that initial testing, you will then be asked to go to Mayo Clinic in Rochester to go through the donor evaluation. This is a 2-3 day process that is very similar to what I just went through. It'll include meeting with nephrologists, social workers, dietitians, along with things like EKGs and ultrasounds. I don't know all of the details, but that hopefully gives you a general idea. If you're approved for donation, but not a match, then you'll have the opportunity to enter the exchange program.
If you are interested in learning more please call 866-227-1569. This is the phone number for potential living donors at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. It's INCREDIBLY important that you tell them that you are interested in donating to Jennifer Trunk.
All of your information is kept confidential. I won't even know that someone is a candidate unless that candidate tells me. The donor and transplant teams are separate in order to ensure a confidential process. What I'm trying to say is that I can't drive any of this. Not even for Joacim's, even though he's my husband. I won't have access to any of the results, not what step in the process they're on..nothing. Part of this is to make sure that the person donating REALLY wants to donate, and isn't being coerced in any way. It may sound strange, but it makes sense.
I feel like I've typed enough tonight. I've got so many more things to say, but I'd be interested to know if anyone has any questions about donation. There's lots of info that I can't cover in one post, but it gives me plenty of topics to choose from for the future ;)
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