Cross-kidney transplant, known also as a kidney paired transplant or kidney paired donation, is a promising alternative for patients who need kidney transplantation but their donors turn up to be not suitable as a result of crossmatch testing. Instead of long search for a new donor, patients and their unmatched donors may apply as a couple to one of cross-kidney transplant programs and in quite short time find a suitable match.

However, many patients requiring an urgent kidney transplantation do not know what exactly is a cross-kidney transplant, what are the benefits of so-called kidney brotherhood and if this method of organ donation has some advantages over classical donor search. In this article, we will make this issue clearer for current and future kidney transplant patients.

cross-kidney transplant

What Is a Cross-Kidney Transplant?

Cross-kidney transplant is a solution for patients whose chosen donor (usually a sibling, partner, friend) was found to be unsuitable in the cross-match test for renal transplant. Usually, the solution in such a situation was to start looking for a new kidney donor. However, with cross-kidney transplant this step was made much easier. In kidney transplantation centres you can apply as a couple with your chosen but unsuitable donor. Cross-kidney transplant program will then search for a recipient-donor couple with a similar problem and check whether donor from this other couple can make organ donation to you and your donor participate in kidney transplantation for the recipient in the other couple. In this way, both recipients will receive a matching, cross-over kidneys.

Sometimes, instead of two couples, three couples may participate in cross-kidney transplantation, ensuring that all recipients get the best organ donation possible.

Is It Easy to Find a Donor with Cross-Kidney Transplant?

While it still may take a few weeks, kidney paired transplant programs are thought to be much more effective than traditional, one-sided seeking for a suitable organ donor. After all, in organ donation of cross-over kidneys, both couples look for a suitable counterpart. For this reason, many clinics and hospitals promote cross-kidney transplant as a new, more effective way of solving the issue of the unsuitable donor.

Why Is It Called a Kidney Brotherhood?

The important issue in every organ donation is ethics. Both recipients and donors should be properly informed of dangers and consequences of kidney transplantation.

For this reason, a cross-kidney transplant is not treated as a mechanical procedure. Rather, hospitals put emphasis on both couples involved in kidney transplantation getting to know each other before the organ donation. Hence, the term ‘kidney brotherhood’ – after all, recipients will get cross-kidney transplant from one another’s donor. It may create a bond between two couples and in such a friendly atmosphere, going through the process of kidney transplantation will be relatively easier and more pleasant.

Where Can I Sign Up for Cross-Kidney Transplant?

Since the news of kidney paired donation has spread across the globe as the new effective alternative for kidney transplant couples with unsuitable donors, many countries and clinics have established cross-kidney transplant databases which allow for the more effective search of matching organ donation. You shall be able to find a kidney brotherhood program in the nearest kidney transplantation centre. If not, look for national programs.

Can Cross-Kidney Transplant Promise a Successful Organ Donation?

As all types of kidney transplantation, kidney paired donation or cross-kidney transplant is not the ultimate key to successful organ donation. However, it increases the chances of finding a suitable donor. Still, kidney transplant patients need to take medicines suppressing their immunological systems in order to prevent a donor kidney rejection. While it is a small possibility, it always exists.


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