Paired Kidney Exchange

What is a Paired Kidney Donation or Kidney Swap?

If you need a kidney and have a family member or friend willing to donate one of his or her kidneys, but it cannot be done due to tissue or blood type incompatibilities, we have a potential solution.

A paired kidney exchange, also known as a “kidney swap” occurs when a living kidney donor is incompatible with their recipient, but does match another person on the waitlist.  Two live donor transplants would occur.

Suppose there were two donor/recipient pairs, Donor and Recipient 1 and Donor and Recipient 2:

  • Donor 1 would give a kidney to Recipient 2.
  • Donor 2 would then give a kidney to Recipient 1.


Paired Kidney Exchange

Paired Kidney Donation Program

The Paired Kidney Donation Program at the University of Michigan is aimed at providing increased transplant opportunities for patients on the kidney waitlist. This paired kidney donation transplant enables two incompatible recipients to receive healthy, more compatible kidneys. These exchanges sometimes can be extended into larger chains of donor pairs, potentially increasing the impact of donation even farther. Donor and recipient pairs who are compatible can also participate in paired donation in order to help an incompatible pair be able to donate and receive a transplant. The University of Michigan participates with both the Alliance for Paired Donation and United Network for Organ Sharing Paired Kidney Exchange programs. These are national programs and centers from across the United States have patients enrolled in their databases. In almost all cases the donor and recipient remain at their home Transplant center and travel is not required.

All medically eligible donor/recipient pairs may participate in the paired kidney exchange program.

For answers to frequently asked questions about Paired Kidney Donation download our Living Kidney Donation booklet.

Get Evaluated

To make an appointment to evaluate your need within our Transplant Center or ability to donate a kidney, call a living donor representative at 1-800-333-9013. Find a University of Michigan kidney-pancreas transplant doctor.