[Note: This entry was actually written in Sep 2009. I changed the posting date to keep my blog entries in chronological order.]
It’s been a year since I registered as a kidney donor, but no matches have come up yet. Who knew how difficult it would be to give a kidney away?
I’m starting to wonder if perhaps some recipients do not want to accept a kidney from a stranger. Perhaps they are afraid of a higher chance of infection or rejection when getting an organ from a stranger. Or maybe they are just creeped out by the idea of having a stranger’s kidney inside them.
Finally, maybe altruistic donations are so new that potential recipients and their doctors are not familiar with the program and don’t know that I have a kidney available for them.
[Update1: Based on conversations I’ve had with a transplant surgeon and a nephrologist at the University of Washington Medical Center in October 2009, I now believe that the reason I haven’t been contacted earlier has nothing to do with the feelings of potential kidney recipients or with familiarity with altruistic donor programs. Rather it has to do with how the UNOS transplant waiting lists work.]
[Update2: It turns out, live donor transplants are not strictly handled via the UNOS waiting list. And it isn’t really a list. It is a database. Each kidney exchange has its own database as well. More on waiting lists in a later post.]