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What is Family Voucher Kidney Donation?

Kari Rancourt, Living Donor Transplant Coordinator, Hartford Hospital

If you are interested in donating a kidney to a stranger, you may be wondering: What if, after I donate my kidney, someone I love needs a kidney transplant but I can no longer donate a kidney to them because I will have already donated? To address this potential issue, the National Kidney Registry created the Family Voucher Program.

The Family Voucher Program lets you donate a kidney while also protecting your family members in the unlikely event one of them ever needs a kidney transplant.

The Family Voucher Program is offered exclusively by NKR member centers that participate in the Voucher Program. The option to donate through the Family Voucher Program is also available to anyone who qualifies for Donor Shield, a comprehensive suite of support and protections for living kidney donors.

There are currently 92 transplant centers nationwide that participate in the Voucher Program. To see all participating centers, visit https://www.kidneytransplantcenters.org. To see a map of Donor Shield centers that participate in the Voucher Program, visit https://www.donor-shield.org.

How Family Voucher Kidney Donation Works

When you donate a kidney through the Family Voucher Program, you donate according to your schedule while providing up to five vouchers for members of your family who are not in imminent need of a transplant. You must name the five family members before your kidney donation surgery.

In the unlikely event that one of the people you named as a voucher holder needs a kidney transplant someday, they can redeem the voucher to be prioritized for a living donor kidney through the NKR. Only one family voucher can be redeemed.

Why Donate Through the Family Voucher Program?

Donating through the Family Voucher Program lets you help one or more people in need of a transplant (by starting a chain or donating to someone on the deceased donor waitlist) while also ensuring your family members are protected in the case of future kidney failure.

All family voucher donors are prioritized for a living donor transplant in the extremely rare case they ever need a kidney transplant in the future. Family voucher donors are also eligible for the support and protections offered by Donor Shield, including up to $18,000 in reimbursement for donation-related lost wages and travel and dependent care costs.

To register as a family voucher donor, visit https://www.kidneyregistry.org.

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