Monday, February 8, 2010

To Catch A Kidney

I've been nosing around online for information about kidney transplantation, and I was curious as to what would make a person a match, or exclude a person from donating. Here's what I have learned so far:

It is somewhat better for the patient to receive a kidney from a live donor vs. one who is recently deceased and a lot better for the patient to get a transplant without spending time on dialysis.

There are THREE factors that are used to match donors and recipients. One is blood type--same rules apply for receiving blood and organs (The Boy, being A positive, can receive O-, O+, A-, and A+ blood). The second is tissue type. With better anti-rejection medicines, this is less important, but we may as well try for the best we can get. There are six types of antigens in your tissue (three sets from each parent), and generally the best way to match the tissue is for the donor to be related to the recipient...but not necessarily. It's a more complicated version of people having different colored eyes, and The Boy could have the exact same color eyes--and the exact same tissue type--as someone he's never met before. The third, and probably most important, is called crossmatching. I'm assuming that this is related to the "type and cross" that is done whenever The Boy is about to receive a transfusion. White blood cells from the donor are mixed with blood from the potential recipient. If the white cells are attacked and die, the crossmatch is "positive" meaning that the donor cannot donate to that person. THIS is why parents should not donate blood to their kids if transplantation is ever going to be an issue--the child could develop an immunity to the parents' blood.

By the way, I have been getting much of this info from Living Donors Online. Also, I've been reading for a little while.

They also have a list of factors that prevent a person from being a donor.


JC said...

I sure do hope you all find a kidney for him. Scares the hell out of me cause it could be my baby too at some point.

Dana said...

I hope that he will be a canidate soon and that the awful chemo can end! One of my best friends needed a kidney transplant about 6 years ago and I can tell you they were lucky enough to have a lot of friends and family who wanted to be tested to see if they were a match. In te end they had a number of kidney's to choose from. I know his mother, sister, a neighbor and my MIL were all matches. In the end they used his mothers kidney knowing that they may have to do this again for him in the future and then if they did they would take his sisters kidney for him. Good luck I hope this chapter in his life can come to a close soon with a nice brand new kidney :)

Courtney said...

I have been following your blog and praying for you all for a while. Just wanted to tell you that I hope finding a match for him won't be too difficult. I have A+ blood too. I had a teacher in catholic school that said that God gave me an A+ haha. Best of luck.

Fluffy said...

I don't get on the computer much these days but when I do I like to come in and check your blog to catch up. I'm shocked to learn that now your son is awaiting a new kidney.

My sister has had two liver transplants. TWO organs. Think positive... It can happen!!

I'll be praying for your family!

Harvey said...

Living Donors Online is a good resource to use and promote.

I started the Living Kidney Donors Network (LKDN) after my successful transplant in 2007. The LKDN informs individuals about living kidney donation and prepares them to effectively communicate their need to family members and friends.