Advanced Donation Programs and Deceased Donor-Initiated Chains—2 Innovations in Kidney Paired Donation

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Abstract

Kidney paired donation (KPD) strategies have facilitated compatible living-donor kidney transplants for end-stage renal disease patients with willing but incompatible living donors. Success has inspired further innovations that expand opportunities for kidney-paired donation. Two such innovations are the advanced donation strategy in which a donor provides a kidney before their recipient is matched, or even in need of, a kidney transplant, and deceased donor initiated chains in which chains are started with deceased donors rather than altruistic living donors. Although these innovations may expand KPD, they raise several ethical issues. Specific concerns raised by advanced donation include the management of uncertainty, the extent of donor and recipient consent, the scope of the obligation that the organization has to the kidney exchange paired recipient, the naming of alternative recipients, and the potential to unfairly advantage the recipient. Use of deceased donors for chain-initiating kidneys raises ethical issues concerning the consent process for each involved party, the prioritization of deceased donor kidneys, the allocation of chain ending kidneys, and the value of a living donor kidney versus a deceased donor kidney. We outline each ethical issue and discuss how it can be conceptualized and managed so that these KPD innovations programs are ultimately successful.

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