Reciprocity to Increase Participation of Compatible Living Donor and Recipient Pairs in Kidney Paired Donation

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Abstract

Inclusion of compatible living donor and recipient pairs (CPs) in kidney paired donation (KPD) programs could increase living donor transplantation. We introduce the concept of a reciprocity-based strategy in which the recipient of a CP who participates in KPD receives priority for a repeat deceased donor transplant in the event their primary living donor KPD transplant fails, and then we review the practical and ethical considerations of this strategy. The strategy limits prioritization to CPs already committed to living donation, minimizing the risk of unduly influencing donor behavior. The provision of a tangible benefit independent of the CP's actual KPD match avoids many of the practical and ethical challenges with strategies that rely on finding the CP recipient a better-matched kidney that might provide the CP recipient a future benefit to increase KPD participation. Specifically, the strategy avoids the potential to misrepresent the degree of future benefit of a better-matched kidney to the CP recipient and minimizes delays in transplantation related to finding a better-matched kidney. Preliminary estimates suggest the strategy has significant potential to increase the number of living donor transplants. Further evaluation of the acceptance of this strategy by CPs and by waitlisted patients is warranted.

This viewpoint introduces the concept of providing the recipient of a compatible donor–recipient pair priority for deceased donor kidney transplantation in the event of primary allograft failure in exchange for the pairs’ participation in kidney paired donation.

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