Donate Life America (DLA) and the Fresenius Medical Care Foundation (Foundation) today announced a unique partnership, launching a groundbreaking national, universal living donor kidney registry and at-home testing kit to improve access to living donation for the 95,000 people on the national transplant waitlist currently waiting for a life-saving kidney transplant.
The Foundation, a separately operated 501(c)(3) nonprofit of Fresenius Medical Care North America (FMCNA), has donated $500,000 to DLA, marking the beginning of an ongoing partnership focused on kidney transplants and living donor access. The funding and partnership will create two new initiatives to encourage living donation. The initiatives launching in 2020 include The National Donate Life Living Donor Registry: The first national, universal living donor registry will offer the opportunity for the public to register their interest in becoming a living donor, reducing the barriers that currently exist with no clear pathway to express interest. This platform will capture preliminary matching results from the new at-home testing kits, and in partnership with the United Network for Organ Sharing and transplant programs across the country, will allow potential living donors and recipients to find matches nationwide. This new living donor registry will be built as part of the already existing, secured, and trusted National Donate Life Registry that houses deceased organ, eye, and tissue donor registrations.
First-Ever At-Home Living Donor Testing Kits: Using saliva sample technology, DLA and the Foundation will create a faster, consumer-friendly screening option to identify and register potential living donors for kidney transplant. The streamlined screening process will help retain living donor interest by converting testing results to a potential match as quickly and safely as possible. The average wait time for a kidney donation can decrease significantly to one year or less for living donor transplants, as compared to 3-7 years for deceased donor transplants.
“We are committed to ensuring that every eligible person who is seeking a kidney transplant receives one,” said Bill Valle, Chief Executive Officer of FMCNA and President of the Foundation. “Kidney transplant is the best life-saving option for people living with kidney disease. We are dedicated to partnering with organizations like Donate Life America to raise visibility of the need for transplants while streamlining the living kidney donation process. By creating these innovative, first-ever resources, we expect to nearly double the number of successful matches within one year of launch, leading to reduced average transplant waiting times for people living with kidney disease.”
This year, an estimated 20,000 people on the kidney transplant waiting list will receive a kidney transplant, primarily from deceased donors. Another person is added to the waiting list about every ten minutes. With a shortage of deceased donor kidneys to meet demand, living donor kidneys are a strong option with higher post-transplant success rates than deceased donor kidneys, according to United States Renal Data System data.
“We have seen the public embrace the idea of living donation, yet what has been lacking is an easy pathway to register their interest,” said David Fleming, President and CEO at DLA. “We are excited to partner with the Fresenius Medical Care Foundation to reduce barriers to living donation, grow generosity, and save more lives.”
The National Donate Life Living Donor Registry is expected to be live by spring 2020. In the meantime, the organizations will pilot the first-ever living donor testing kits in select transplant programs through February 2020 and will share additional updates on the program in advance of national implementation next year.
To learn more about the partnership between Donate Life America and the Fresenius Medical Care Foundation, visit www.fmcna.com/foundation.