October 28, 2019
2 min read

Fresenius, Donate Life America announce new living donor registry

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Bill Valle

Donate Life America and the Fresenius Medical Care Foundation recently announced the groups would launch a national, universal living donor kidney registry and at-home testing kit to improve access to living donation.

The Fresenius Medical Care Foundation has donated $500,000 to Donate Life America, marking the beginning of a partnership focused on kidney transplants and living donor access, Fresenius said in a press release. The funding and partnership will create two new initiatives to encourage living donation.

The National Donate Life Living Donor Registry is the first national, universal living donor registry, Fresenius said. “It will offer the opportunity for the public to register their interest in becoming a living donor, reducing the barriers that currently exist with no clear pathway to express interest. This platform will capture preliminary matching results from the new at-home testing kits, and in partnership with the United Network for Organ Sharing and transplant programs across the country, will allow potential living donors and recipients to find matches nationwide,” Fresenius said.

This new living donor registry will be built as part of the already existing National Donate Life Registry that houses deceased organ, eye and tissue donor registrations.

At-home living donor testing kits will use saliva sample technology to create a faster, consumer-friendly screening option to identify and register potential living donors for kidney transplant. The streamlined screening process will help retain living donor interest by converting testing results to a potential match as quickly and safely as possible, Fresenius said. The average wait time for a kidney donation can decrease significantly to 1 year or less for living donor transplants as compared to 3 years to 7 years for deceased donor transplants.

"We are committed to ensuring that every eligible person who is seeking a kidney transplant receives one," Bill Valle, CEO of Fresenius Medical Care North America and president of the foundation said. "Kidney transplant is the best life-saving option for people living with kidney disease. By creating these innovative, first-ever resources, we expect to nearly double the number of successful matches within 1 year of launch, leading to reduced average transplant waiting times for people living with kidney disease."

This year, an estimated 20,000 people on the kidney transplant waitlist will receive a kidney transplant, primarily from deceased donors, Fresenius said. Another person is added to the waitlist about every 10 minutes, Fresenius said.

"We have seen the public embrace the idea of living donation, yet what has been lacking is an easy pathway to register their interest," David Fleming, president and CEO of Donate Life America, said. "We are excited to partner with the Fresenius Medical Care Foundation to reduce barriers to living donation, grow generosity, and save more lives."

The National Donate Life Living Donor Registry is expected to be operational by spring 2020. Meanwhile, the organizations will pilot the living donor testing kits in select transplant programs through February 2020 and will share additional updates on the program in advance of national implementation next year.