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Division of Transplantation
Information for Transplant Donors
The Screening Process
The first step is determining compatible donor blood type. Blood samples will need to be drawn from both the donor and the recipient.
Just as there are blood types which determine compatibility for blood transfusions, there are tissue types called human leukocyte antigens (HLA) which determine compatibility for organ transplants. If a person receives a kidney from a member of the family, the chances of success for the transplant are increased because family members are likely to have similar or sometimes identical tissue types. Inherited HLA markers in the blood are identified and compared between the donor and the recipient. The better the HLA match between the donor and the recipient, the less likely the recipients body will recognize the kidney as foreign. Therefore, chances for a successful transplant are greater and the recipient may require fewer drugs to control rejection. Appointments for tissue typing may be made by calling the Kidney Transplant Office.
Potential donors and recipients with compatible blood and tissue types are further tested for compatibility with a test known as a crossmatch. In this test, the recipients blood is mixed with cells from the donors blood. If antibodies in the recipients blood destroy the donor cells, the test is said to be incompatible and the transplant cannot take place because the kidney will be rejected.