My kidney donation is the first in a series of donations that are happening in a chain. As I’ve tried to explain this to people, they have a hard time grasping it. I did too, when I first heard about it. But it’s a great idea.
When someone gets sick with kidney disease, often a loved one wants to give them their kidney. But often the loved one is not compatible with the person they love. So they enter a registry, as a pair. In that registry, they can get paired up with another pair…they donate to each other’s loved one. (I give my kidney to your husband, you give your kidney to my husband). But even that is statistically unlikely, because it’s hard to be compatible.
When someone donates in an undesignated way, then the person who receives the donation, can let their loved one donate to someone else who they are compatible with. The chain becomes a straight line, rather than having to be a closed circle. Statistically that means it’s easier to make the matches.
In my chain they are hoping that there will be eight people involved, four donors, four recipients.
The best and most informative article about a chain of donations that I’ve found is this article from the New York Times: