AST and Patient Groups Release Joint Statement on Living Donation

Thursday, July 30, 2015

AST, AAKP, DLA, NKF, TRIO, and WLZ Joint Statement Regarding Living Donation

It has been estimated that nearly 700,000 Americans will have end-stage renal disease in 2015. Another 26 million individuals will suffer from some form of chronic kidney disease. Transplantation remains the most effective therapy for the majority of individuals with kidney failure. Unfortunately, the current system of organ donation is not meeting this growing need. Currently, more than 101,000 Americans are awaiting a kidney transplant, yet just over 17,100 transplants were performed last year.

Of the 17,106 kidney transplants performed in 2014, 5,536 came from living donors -- people who chose to literally give of themselves to save others. The living donation system in the United States is purely altruistic. However, even the most altruistic of individuals can be deterred from doing a good deed if that deed comes with significant costs. In 2014, living donation was at its lowest level since 2000, and many suspect that living donation has become unaffordable for those who would otherwise wish to donate.

The American Society of Transplantation, American Association for Kidney Patients, Donate Life America, the National Kidney Foundation, Transplant Recipients International Organization, and WaitList Zero strongly support removing financial barriers to organ donation. There is universal agreement within these organizations that no living donor should be economically disadvantaged by his or her decision to give the gift of life. Removing financial disincentives would be an important step toward allowing all who wish to donate to do so by making sure that donation is financially neutral for the donor.