Statement on Comprehensive Living Organ Donor Protections
March is National Kidney Month and April is National Donate Life Month. As leading, independent, national organizations representing patients, organ donors and their families, transplant surgeons, and transplant health professionals, the American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP), the American Society of Transplant Surgeons (ASTS), the American Society of Transplantation (AST) restate our commitment to increased altruistic living organ donation through greater legal protections for a person who becomes a living organ donor. It is unacceptable that Americans with kidney failure are forced to wait on a transplant list, or die awaiting a transplant, when Congress could enact comprehensive policy solutions to remove roadblocks to living organ donation, increase available organs and save more lives.
Kidney disease and kidney failure are a threat to every American. They disproportionately impact minorities and communities of color – who already bear the burden of disparate care, health inequities and lower organ transplant rates. Increased living organ donation will save thousands of lives, and livelihoods, every year. Yet, significant roadblocks remain. Patients, potential organ donors, transplant professionals, social workers and community advocates cite practical realities and fears about job loss, insurance status including the ability to retain current or obtain future insurance, and family financial security as significant barriers to more living organ donation. AST, ASTS and AAKP believe no person should be discriminated against for their noble decision to become a living organ donor – meaning no donor should face disparate treatment or hidden penalties for their selfless act through a threat to their job security or career, or their life, health and disability insurance or related future insurability.