Why the NKR

Whether you are a patient in need of a kidney transplant or a potential donor, the National Kidney Registry (NKR) offers the best path forward.

For donors, the NKR maximizes your opportunity to help the most patients with your gift, as well as commits to support and protect all donors that donate through the NKR.

For patients, the NKR maximizes your opportunity to find a well-matched donor, which is correlated with more kidney life years and less immunosuppression medications.

Patient Advantages

State of the Art Technology + the Latest in Matching Science = Better Outcomes & Lower Immunosuppression

  • Increased chance of finding a great match, which is correlated with more kidney life years and less immunosuppression medications.
  • NKR provides 3G tissue typing and eplet mismatch technology, giving your transplant team visibility into the best donor-recipient matches so the team can make an informed decision about selecting potential donors who are the best match for your individual genetics. For more information visit the Kidney for Life page.
  • If you are a sensitized patient (i.e. PRA > 0%), the NKR will increase your chance of finding a well-matched donor, eliminating the need for desensitization and improving your transplant outcome while minimizing immunosuppression medications.
  • Short wait time—80% of patients activated in the NKR are matched and transplanted within 90 days.
  • The NKR microsite program helps patient who don’t have a living donor to find a living donor. For more information, visit the Microsites page.
  • NKR-facilitated transplants demonstrate better outcomes compared to all other cohorts despite an abundance of the most difficult cases. For more information, see our Latest Outcomes report.

Donor Advantages

The NKR is making kidney donation safer, easier and more convenient

  • NKR donors are matched quickly so your paired recipient can be transplanted as soon as possible.
  • You will be matched according to your donation timeframe so that your surgery date and recovery period fit your schedule.
  • You will have access to the Voucher Program to help a specific patient in need and protect your family in case they ever need a kidney transplant.
  • The patient who receives your kidney will get the best possible match, increasing their chance of the transplant lasting a lifetime. For more information, visit the Kidney for Life page.
  • You will not need to travel to the recipient center in order to participate in a swap thanks to the remote donation network and our proven kidney transport technology.
  • You will be provided with donor protections, including reimbursement for travel and lost wages, donor life insurance, donor disability insurance and more. For more information, visit the Donor Shield page.
  • When you donate through the NKR, you will be prioritized for a living kidney transplant in the rare event that you ever need a transplant in the future.

The NKR works with the top transplant hospitals in the United States and has facilitated more exchange transplants than any other exchange program in the world. The NKR also holds the Guinness World Record for organizing the world’s longest kidney chain.

Some transplant centers attempt to provide paired exchange services from a “single center.” This approach may make the logistics easier (no need to ship kidneys or coordinate surgery dates with other centers) but this “single center” approach cannot equal the NKR’s ability to improve match quality, which improves transplant outcomes (i.e., the kidney lasts longer) and can lower immunosuppression requirements.

Paired exchange is inherently a numbers game and the NKR is the largest paired exchange program in the world and has, by far, the biggest pool of donors. The larger the pool of donors, the better the matches because there are more potential donors for a patient to select from. Patient outcomes from transplants facilitated by the NKR exceed the average U.S. living donor transplant outcomes.

The NKR provides the most comprehensive donor support and protections in the world, including prioritization for a living donor kidney in the unlikely event the donor ever needs a kidney transplant and the Voucher Program, which allows the donor to donate at a time and location that is most convenient for the donor.

There are many potential challenges related to kidney donation, including lost wages, travel and lodging costs, donor complication not covered by the patient’s insurance, etc. The NKR offers protections to offset these challenges, so the donor is inconvenienced as little as possible and supported throughout the donation process, and beyond.