Living persons considering donating a kidney, either to a relative, friend or stranger, are able to have their future health status followed, and may also be provided with an optional safety net of financial protection for any complications arising from their surgery.
The American Foundation for Donation & Transplantation (AFDT), an association of transplant related professional organizations and one of the oldest transplant groups in the country, maintains and operates the Living Organ Donor Network (LODN) which became operational in October 2000.
With the availability of LODN, information regarding living kidney donors was, for the first time, placed in a common data base so medical professionals could collect the demographic and medical characteristics of these individuals. In addition, information on their decision to donate as well as their quality of life post donation are being collected at several time intervals and utilized to further the knowledge base for future living donors.
Available as an option, donors can be provided with a safety net of protection in the form of life, disability and medical insurance for complications which might arise from being a living related or unrelated kidney donor. The insurance is optional for transplant centers that participate in the program as well as for individuals that may wish to benefit from this protection.
Approximately 100,000 people across the United States have lost the function of their kidneys and are awaiting transplants. "The gift of a kidney from a living person is a truly selfless act," says Thomas McCune, M.D., a transplant physician from Norfolk who is a Past President of AFDT. "It behooves the medical and transplant community to make sure they are given the finest health care and that they or their families do not suffer financially as a result of their generosity. In addition, we need to encourage more persons to donate kidneys and LODN will hopefully ease their decision."
AFDT secured coverage for LODN through AIG Insurance which underwrote the coverage for donors in the National Bone Marrow Donor Program upon which LODN is modeled. AFDT offers LODN to all kidney transplant centers in the country and there is no cost to the donor or the recipient to participate in the registry. However, the transplant center has to participate in order for the donors to be enrolled. There is a one time fee of $550 per donor for the optional insurance protection. Non-members may also participate in the registry and insurance should they desire and may call the contact below for additional information.