The National Kidney Registry’s Voucher Program was created to overcome compatibility issues between donors and recipients, as well as to make the process more convenient for donors and allow the best possible match for recipients.
Why Donate Through the Voucher Program?
Becoming a living kidney donor through the Voucher Program may be the best option for you if:
- You are not compatible with your intended recipient.
- You are compatible with your intended recipient but a better match is possible.
- You want to donate now but your intended recipient is not ready for a transplant.
- You want to protect your family members by ensuring they will receive a living donor kidney if they ever need a transplant.
Standard Voucher Program
By donating through the Standard Voucher Program, you can donate according to your schedule while providing a voucher for your friend or family member who is in imminent need of a transplant. The voucher can be redeemed when your friend or family member is ready for transplant surgery. In addition to the voucher holder in imminent need, the donor can also name five family members as back-up voucher holders should the voucher holder in imminent need receive a deceased donor transplant.
When the voucher is redeemed, the voucher holder will be prioritized for a living donor kidney through the National Kidney Registry (NKR). The NKR’s Kidney for Life initiative, which utilizes the latest generation in DNA sequencing technology to assess the histologic, or eplet, mismatch between patients and donors, increases the odds of a better match for the person you are trying to help (unless they have a six-antigen match sibling donor) which usually means the transplanted kidney will last longer and the recipient will require less immune-suppressive medication.
Despite facilitating transplants for more difficult cases, NKR transplants have better outcomes compared to the typical living donor transplant in the United States.
All standard voucher donors are prioritized for a living donor transplant in the extremely rare case they ever need a kidney transplant in the future. Standard voucher donors are eligible for the support and protections covered by Donor Shield.
Finally, by donating through the Standard Voucher Program, donors are able to help more than one person in need of a transplant—the person who receives the voucher and the other person or people transplanted due to their kidney donation.
Family Voucher Program
By donating through the Family Voucher Program, you can donate according to your schedule while providing up to five vouchers for your family members who are not in imminent need of a transplant.
This will allow you to help one or more people who are in need of a kidney transplant now (by starting a chain or donating to someone on the deceased donor waitlist) while also looking out for your family in case one of them ever needs a kidney transplant. In the unlikely event that one of the people you named as a voucher holder needs a kidney transplant someday, they will be prioritized for a living donor kidney through the National Kidney Registry. Only one family voucher can be redeemed.
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 eligible for the support and protections covered by Donor Shield.