World Organ Donation Day is observed to spread awareness about the importance and need for organ donation. Dr Prashant Borade, head, Critical Care, Global Hospital, Mumbai shares some important inputs on kidney donation.

Who can donate kidneys?

Kidney donors can be either living or deceased. A family member with two healthy kidneys may opt to donate them as the body will be able to function even with one kidney too.

If your family member’s blood and tissues match your blood and tissues, you can schedule a planned donation. Moreover, receiving a kidney from a family member can lower the risk that the body will reject the kidney, and may enable one to bypass the multiyear waiting list for a deceased donor. Deceased donors who are also known as cadaver donors are people who have died, usually as the result of an accident rather than a disease. Here, either the donor or the family chooses to donate the deceased’s organs and tissues. One’s body is likely to reject a kidney from an unrelated donor. Thus, cadaver organ is a good alternative if you don’t have a family member or friend who’s willing or able to donate a kidney.

All you need to know about the matching process

While you have been evaluated for a transplant, you will have to undergo a blood test to know your blood type, and human leukocyte antigen (HLA). A group of antigens located on the surface of your white blood cells is HLA, and these antigens are responsible for your body’s immune response. Furthermore, if one’s HLA type matches the donor’s HLA type and then maybe one’s body won’t reject the kidney. After identifying the potential donor, another test is performed to make sure that your antibodies won’t attack the donor’s organ. This can be done by mixing a small amount of your blood with the donor’s blood. The doctor will not go ahead with the transplant if one’s blood forms antibodies in response to the donor’s blood. Here, if your blood shows no antibody reaction, you have what’s called a “negative crossmatch.” This means that the transplant can proceed.