SAN DIEGO, Aug. 28 (UPI) — San Diego doctors say a patient awaiting a kidney transplant has a new organ after his wife donated hers — but to a stranger, not to her husband.
Oscar and Rita Ayub were participants in a National Kidney Registry live-saving effort that finds donors for people who need a kidney, but only if they have a partner willing to donate one of their kidneys to a stranger, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported Friday.
They were part of a transplant chain of donations involving 21 donors and 21 recipients in seven states. Each person in need of a kidney had a donor partner — a relative, friend, co-worker or possibly a stranger — whose kidney was not a match for them.
The National Kidney Registry, founded in 2007, uses sophisticated computer analysis to match donors with recipients.
The New York non-profit is the largest such paired-exchange kidney transplant program in the United States.
Kidneys transplant recipients in the United States typically wait four years or more to find a matching donor, even when a loved one wants to help.
The registry now has 2,000 donors in its system and plans to expand, Executive Director Thomas Mollo said.
“We’ve done 178 transplants,” he said. “Each hospital has to come into the system with a recipient and a donor, so we can continue to pay it forward.”
The Ayubs said they hope their experience would encourage others not to be fearful about donating an organ.
“They’re giving life to somebody else, like she gave to me,” Oscar said as he reached for Rita’s hand.
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