Paired kidney exchanges take place when there are two incompatible donor/recipient pairs. For example, if Donor A wishes to donate but is not compatible with Recipient A, and Donor B wishes to donate but is not compatible with Recipient B, the pairs can ‘swap’ and donate to one another.
This is very common for someone who wishes to donate to their family or friends but cannot as they are not a match. Essentially, they can donate on their family/friend’s behalf to another pair in a similar situation. By doing this even more lives are saved.
Even pairs that are compatible can still be entered into a paired exchange. We strongly recommend that pairs consider doing this. By entering into a database, such as the NKR, as a pair, the donor/recipient is matched to an even more compatible pair thus creating better outcomes. Kidneys will likely have improved function and longevity because of the better HLA match.