Understanding Kidney Matching

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The first live kidney donation happened between identical twins because they had well-matched kidneys. At that time, there were no other donation options and a living kidney donor had to have the same blood type as their recipient. That is no longer true, but, there are many other reasons why a donor and recipient might not be a good match. As living kidney donation became more common, we learned more about what is important when matching a donor and recipient.


Ways to Match the Best Kidney to Each Recipient


Age Kidney Size Anatomy Timing Sensitivity
We prefer the donor and recipient be close in age so the life of the kidney matches the recipient. A kidney that matches the recipient's body size will work to match that body's needs. A donor's veins and arteries are easier to connect when they are like the recipient's. Sometimes the donor's schedule doesn't match the recipient's timeline. Some recipients have antibodies that will reject a new kidney. This can happen from pregnancy, blood transfusion, an earlier transplant or other issues. Even donors/recipients with the same blood type may not match because of antibody sensitivity.