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If I Become a Double Living Donor, Can I Qualify for Donor Shield Twice?

Michael Lollo, NKR Chief Strategy Officer

If you are considering becoming a double living donor, donating both a kidney and a portion of your liver, you may be wondering if your second donation qualifies for the same donor support and protections as the first. If you donate through the National Kidney Registry’s Donor Shield program, the answer is yes.

Technically, it does not cost anything to become a living kidney donor or a living liver donor. However, while the living donor’s medical costs are typically fully covered by insurance, some donors will have out-of-pocket expenses that are not covered, such as travel expenses (plane tickets, car rentals, hotel accommodations, and meals if they are required to travel to a distant transplant center), childcare expenses (care for children during testing, surgery and the recovery period), and care for dependent adults (such as parents or adult children of the donor who cannot be on their own).

Fortunately, several financial assistance programs are available to cover costs associated with living organ donation. The two main programs are the National Living Donor Assistance Center (NLDAC) and the National Kidney Registry’s Donor Shield program.

Both offer some level of compensation for living donors, but there is a big difference between the two for anyone considering becoming a double living donor:

  • NLDAC offers a lifetime maximum of $6,000 in reimbursement for donation-related lost wages, travel, and dependent care costs. That means, if you reach the maximum amount with your first donation, you are not eligible for additional reimbursement should you decide to become a living donor a second time.
  • Donor Shield offers a maximum of $18,000 in reimbursement per donation, which means that if you reach the maximum reimbursement amount for your first living donation and you want to donate again, you are eligible for an additional $18,000 in reimbursement for the second donation.

There are a few other differences between the two programs:

Lost wages: Donor Shield offers up to $12,000 in lost-wage reimbursement per donation ($2,000 per week for up to six weeks). NDLAC offers a lifetime maximum of $6,000 for lost wages, travel expenses, and dependent care costs combined.

Travel expenses: Donor Shield offers up to $6,000 in reimbursement for donation-related travel and dependent care costs combined per donation. Under NDLAC, travel expenses are included in the $6,000 lifetime maximum.

Dependent care: Donor Shield offers up to $6,000 in reimbursement for donation-related travel and dependent care costs combined per donation. Under NDLAC, travel expenses are included in the $6,000 lifetime maximum.

Donor Shield coverage is available to all living kidney donors who donate through the National Kidney Registry at either an NKR Member Center or through a Donor Shield Direct transplant center. There are more than 100 NKR Member Centers and more than 25 Donor Shield Direct centers all across the United States, so there are plenty of options. Find a Donor Shield center.

For a full comparison of donor financial assistance offered by Donor Shield and NDLAC, click here.

If you are interested in becoming a kidney, liver, or double living donor, speak to your doctor or register as a donor with the National Kidney Registry.