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Living Donation: How Can I Help?

Right now, nearly 2,500 Colorado and Wyoming residents are waiting on a lifesaving transplant. While Donor Alliance works exclusively with deceased donors and their families, living donation is another way people can help save lives and spare many of the individuals on the transplant list from what can be a lengthy wait.

Of those in Colorado and Wyoming waiting for a transplant, more than 1,700 are in need of a kidney and nearly 500 are waiting on a liver, both of which can be donated by living donors. There are four transplant centers within our region that work with living donors: Porter Adventist Hospital, Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center, Children’s Hospital Colorado and University of Colorado Hospital.

There are three ways living donors can help:

The most common type of living donation is called directed donation. In a directed donation, the donor names the specific person to receive the transplant, whom is often a family member, friend, coworker or acquaintance.

Some people wish to be a living donor even though they do not personally know someone in need of a transplant. This is known as a non-directed donation. In a non-directed donation, the match is arranged based on medical compatibility with a patient in need.

A third living donation option is called paired exchange. When blood tests reveal that a donor is not compatible for a directed donation with their intended recipient, both the donor and recipient may choose to exchange or “trade” with another incompatible donor-recipient pair. A living donor advocate can discuss this option with donors and recipients if they are not a match.

Paired Exchange living donation Source: UNOS

To learn more about living donation, visit our living donation page or contact a local transplant center.