Donate Life America and the Kidney Transplant Center at St. David’s North Austin Medical Center celebrates the first kidney donor of its kind in the United States. The kidney donation came through the National Donate Life Living Donor Registry (NDLLDR). The NDLLDR differs from other registries in that the donor can elect to donate a kidney upon death or while living.
According to Donate Life America (DLA) website, their new program “allows individuals ages 18-65 who registered as a deceased donor through the National Donate Life Registry to also register their interest in becoming a living kidney donor.” The new registry is made possible through funding from Fresenius Medical Care Foundation and is in the pilot phase. The registry is only available in Texas, but DLA has plans for future rollout across the nation.
On July 12, 2022, Camden Underwood, a dual registrant at NDLLDR, underwent a successful surgery performed by Dr. Koushik Shaw at St. David’s North Austin Medical Center. Camden registered to give a donated kidney after death but also, he registered his interest in becoming a living kidney donor. Camden’s kidney was given anonymously to a recipient whose name was on the kidney transplant list.
“Donate Life America’s goal is to bring donation opportunities directly to people in their everyday life. Offering the living kidney donation option to individuals who were already making the lifesaving decision to be an organ, eye, and tissue donor in the National Donate Life Registry at RegisterMe.org, seemed the clear path to build on generosity,”
— David Fleming, president and CEO of Donate Life America
Before the existence of NDLLDR, to become an altruistic kidney donor, interested individuals were required to do much more than have a desire to donate. DLA outlined the prior procedure on their website, “. . . choose a kidney transplant center, research how to contact them directly, and arrange to have an initial medical screening.” DLA explains the new streamlined process that expedites an individual’s desire to be a living donor, “. . . anyone can check their initial eligibility, see a list of living donor kidney programs, and register their interest in living kidney donation. The transplant programs then receive a notification and contact the living donor candidate.”
According to Pittsburgh-based UPMC, “Compared to deceased-donor transplants, recipients of living-donor kidneys have better outcomes because surgeons transplant the kidney immediately after removing it from the donor. This improves the chances that the transplanted organ will function right away. A kidney from a deceased-donor may need to be stored for many hours before it can be transplanted, and it may take a few days to function properly. A kidney from a living donor helps to ensure that the transplanted organ will be of better quality, and therefore more likely will reduce the risk of kidney transplant failure.”
Loretta Whitmore, Editor
Loretta has worked in the nonprofit arena for more than 25 years. She serves as the Senior Manager of Social Media and National Outreach for the National Foundation for Transplants where she manages NFT’s Second Chance News Center. She is an experienced project manager capable of harnessing resources, forming workgroups, and moving projects from the drawing board to implementation. Loretta is passionate about serving transplant patients; at-risk and low-income individuals; victims of disasters; and helping to create more resilient communities. Do you have a transplant story you would like to share? Write her at email@example.com