NKF Statement on Increasing Organ Donation

The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) strongly supports removing barriers to organ donation, and believes that all expenses related to donation should be covered so that neither the organ donor, nor the organ recipient, bears any financial costs.
Cost Neutral
NKF strongly believes that all expenses directly related to donation should be covered, so that donors and families end up cost neutral—prospective donors should neither incur any expenses nor engage in profiteering as a result of their life-changing gift.
Alleviating Donor Concerns
In addition to ensuring that the donor is made cost-neutral, NKF is working to alleviate other concerns a potential donor may have such as follow-up care, short-term health insurance policies, and providing peer mentoring.    
NKF does not believe that organ donors, or recipients, should engage in profiteering.  Profiteering is defined as any payments above and beyond actual donation-related expenses, including cash, lifetime insurance coverage unrelated to donation, tuition or student loan payments, contributions to a retirement account, or similar options.
Profiteering, as a result of organ donation, means that people could be coerced or forced into donation thus exploiting those who are most underprivileged and vulnerable. 
Safer Alternatives
There are proven, underutilized alternatives to increasing kidney donation from both deceased and living donors which protect both the donor, and the recipient, such as:
  • Promoting and expanding opportunities for matched donation on a national level (such as paired exchange and/or donor chains);
  • Removing barriers to living donation such as those outlined in the Living Donor Protection Act (LDPA);
  • Ensuring donors are cost neutral;
  • Guaranteeing living donors access to life, disability and long-term care insurance and ensuring that donors do not lose their job after taking time off for surgery and recovery;
  • Increasing utilization of organs from deceased donors (the recently held NKF Consensus Conference to Decrease Kidney Discards brought together patients and families, transplant surgeons, nephrologists, organ procurement organization leadership, federal government officials and payers to identify the reasons donated kidneys are discarded, as well as develop practical solutions to increase the use of these kidneys);
  • Increasing donation from Expanded Criteria Donors (ECD)—those donors over the age of 60, or a donor over the age of 50 with two of the following: a history of high blood pressure, a creatinine (blood test that shows kidney function) greater than or equal to 1.5, or death resulting from a stroke;
  • Increasing donations from those who suffered devastating and irreversible brain injury, Donation After Cardiac Death (DCD) donors, to make more organs available for transplant;
  • Covering the cost of immunosuppressive drugs for the life of the transplant for kidney recipients whose Medicare coverage ends 36 months post-transplant;
  • Assisting those who are considering living donation with practical information and support, such as through The Big Ask: The Big Give, a new NKF multi-media awareness program designed for patients and families (www.kidney.org/livingdonation).  More in-depth training programs, designed to teach patients and families how to find a living donor have begun pilot testing. 
By maximizing the potential of the areas noted above, donation and transplantation rates can be greatly increased, both safely and effectively. NKF’s complete position statement can be found here or at www.kidney.org.
Kidney Disease Facts
1 in 3 American adults is at risk for kidney disease.  26 million American adults have kidney disease—and most aren’t aware of it.  Risk factors for kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, family history, and age 60+.  People of African American; Hispanic; Native American, Asian; or Pacific Islander descent are at increased risk for developing the disease.  African Americans are 3 ½ times more likely, and Hispanics 1 ½ times more likely, to experience kidney failure.   
How is Chronic Kidney Disease Treated?
The best treatment is early detection when chronic kidney disease can be slowed or stopped. Learn what NKF is doing to prevent kidney failure. Early treatment for kidney disease includes diet, exercise, and medications.  However, once kidneys fail, treatment with dialysis or a kidney transplant is needed to stay alive.
Dialysis comes in several forms: hemodialysis, which can be done at a center or at home, or peritoneal dialysis, which can be done at home, at work, at school, or during travel.  
kidney transplant places a healthy kidney into your body from a deceased donor or from a living donor, such as a close relative, spouse, friend, or generous stranger. A kidney transplant, however, is a treatment, not a cure. Antirejection and other medications are needed to maintain the transplant.
National Kidney Foundation Funding Facts
  • 80 cents of every dollar donated goes to research, patient services, professional education, public health education and community services.
  • Nearly 70% of support NKF receives comes from public donations including the people we serve—patients, family members, friends and others supporting our mission.
  • Less than 2.12% of NKF’s total revenue comes from dialysis providers. 

The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is the largest, most comprehensive and longstanding organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention and treatment of kidney diseaseFor more information about the NKF visit www.kidney.org

Publication Date: 
Monday, May 22, 2017