#26. Who is the designated person? - Dec. 2011

I also asked the doctor about what type of person would get my kidney. He said that because I am a smaller person, it will likely go to someone the same size as me. If it’s a good match, my kidney could help that person live for 15 to 20 years. My kidney may grow up to 20% once it is in a new person’s body. “Isn’t that amazing!?” the doctor said. “We have no idea why it knows to do that, it just does!” A part of my body, growing in another body, that blows my mind!

We also talked about options I might prefer in terms of who would get my kidney. They could simply match me up to the next compatible person on their list, and do the donation. One to one. Or I could put my name into their larger registry, and there could be a domino effect. Sometimes people who need a kidney have a loved one who is willing to be a kidney donor, but they are not a match. They are willing to donate, if it will help their loved one get a kidney. An undesignated donor can help matches fall into place. So in that situation, my donation could help two or three donations happen at the same time. I would be helping the most number of people. I told the doctor I was definitely interested in the domino effect…I’d like to help the most number of people with my kidney.

But since then I’ve been thinking about it. It does seem to make the most sense; help the most number of people that you can. But I think about the young man I saw in the waiting room of the doctor’s office. He was there with his mom; he looked to be about the same age as my son. I wonder if he was the person that the doctor was talking about who they had trouble matching with a donor. What if none of his family members are healthy enough to make a donation; then he is not in that domino list, waiting for a donation to get arranged. If I could help one person live longer, isn’t that enough?

If I join this Paired Donor Exchange program, it will probably take longer to co-ordinate the transplant because there will be more people involved.