Over 90,000 people in the United States are waiting for a kidney to become available for transplantation. While many friends and family members are willing to donate a kidney, they are often not an appropriate tissue match. A kidney transplant chain provides an alternative, lifesaving route.
The chain begins when a person is willing to donate but may not be a match for their intended recipient. The potential donor agrees to donate to a perfect stranger who may be a match in return for that recipient having a person willing to donate to someone else. This process repeats itself until the original recipient receives a kidney.
Recently, 30 people received kidneys in a chain. The chain included ex-boyfriends, former prom dates and close friends all willing to pay the steep price of admission to this special group.
The logistics for this complex chain are handled by an ex-Marine named Garet Hill through the National Kidney Registry.
Sadly, chains like this have become a necessary means of making organs available. Many Americans have not committed to becoming organ donors upon their demise. Their reasons for burying healthy organs vary, but none are based on logic, religion or science.
Many European countries consider everyone an organ donor unless they specifically "opt out" of organ donation. This has increased the number of organs available in those countries while alleviating some of the bizarre obstacles to donation.
How do you feel? Should organ donation after death be understood unless someone opts out?
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