If you are interested in becoming a living kidney donor, you can start the process by taking a short screening survey to see if you are medically qualified to donate. If you qualify, you will then be asked to complete a longer, more detailed medical history questionnaire and do routine labs including blood tests and a urine sample. After this, you will be referred to a transplant center of your choosing. If you participate in an NKR swap you will automatically receive the NKR’s Donor Shield protections.
The Donor Shield program helps donors by reimbursing lost wages for up to six weeks of missed work at up to $1,500 per week, reimbursing travel and lodging expenses up to $2,000, as well as providing life insurance, disability insurance, coverage for uncovered complications and legal representation. Donors that participate in an NKR swap will also receive living kidney prioritization in the unlikely event they ever need a kidney transplant in the future. As a convenience, donors can also donate through the NKR’s Voucher Program, which allows the donor to donate to a stranger at a time that works best with the donor’s schedule and provide a voucher to an intended recipient in immediate need of a kidney. If you don’t have an intended recipient who is in imminent need of a kidney, you can take advantage of the Family Voucher Program, where you can donate and provide vouchers for up to five family members as a safeguard in case one of them ever needs a kidney transplant in the future.
Other options for donation include donating your kidney to a specific recipient (direct donation), donating to a stranger (Good Samaritan donation), or donating through traditional paired exchange, which works the same as the Voucher Program but you would donate on the same day that your recipient receives their kidney.