What if you could save a friend or family member’s life by donating a kidney, despite the fact that you’re not a match for them?
A new computer algorithm called Silverstone Matchgrid is making multi-way kidney donations a reality. The program, currently in use at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, takes incompatible patient-donor pairs and matches them with other hopeful donors and patients in need. This process of paired donation lets your kidney donation save a complete stranger, while a better-matched donor gives their organ to your friend.
The San Francisco Chronicle describes the story of four donors and four recipients, who met one another for the first time after their life-giving/saving surgeries:
“Three weeks into their recovery, the donors and recipients hugged, wiped away tears and exchanged stories.
While [David] Brady ended up giving his kidney to [Toby] Cooling, he had initially offered it to longtime friend Reagan Eilers, who had been on and off dialysis for three years. But the men, who live south of Carson City, Nev., were incompatible.
On the day of the surgery, which was also his 57th birthday, Eilers received a kidney from Santa Rosa resident Monterey Morrissey, who had decided to donate because his wife, Bonnie, had a disease that formed cysts in her kidneys. Although they were compatible, they were better matches for other people.
“I didn’t think I’d get emotional about it, but I absolutely did. It’s such a moving thing you’re doing for each other,” said Bonnie Morrissey, 61, a freelance photographer. She received a kidney from Gilbert Abeyta, 40, of Newman (Stanislaus County).
Abeyta’s wife got a kidney from Toby Cooling’s wife – and the circle was complete.”
Would you give a kidney to a stranger if it meant saving your loved one’s life? What do you think of the potential uses of this complex technology? Tell us in the comments!