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Ask the Medical Expert Archives 2000-2004

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Kidney Donor
February 2002

Q. My brother is in need of a kidney transplant because he is suffering from Bergers disease. Is it more likely that the donor would be from the family? Does it happen often? What exactly is looked at to match the donor and the recipient?

A. It's great that family members are considering kidney donation to your brother. Blood-related relatives have a somewhat better chance of being a good match, but it is not a guarantee. Samples of blood are matched for blood type and other proteins to see the likelihood of a match or rejection between the donor and recipient, meaning how likely is it that the immune system of the recipient will reject the organ.

Medications are usually given to suppress the immune response, and these may be needed for a long time. About 10,000 such operations are performed in the U.S. each year with a high success rate.




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