There is a desperate need for kidney donors. Twenty-five years ago, we urged more widespread acceptance of unrelated living donors for kidney transplantation. Since then, 2 of us have donated a kidney to an unrelated recipient. In our view, the major challenges for living donor transplantation today are to improve access to this extraordinary gift of life and ensure its safety. Our perspective is that altruism is the motivation for most living kidney donors and the decision to donate represents a shared responsibility among the donor, the donor's physician, and the team of professionals at the transplant center. Thus, sound knowledge of the benefits and risks to donors and recipients is required for informed decisions, and all parties share in the responsibility for the outcomes after living kidney donation. We encourage our colleagues and agencies within the US Department of Health and Human Services to accept the responsibility to do their utmost to provide access to this life-enhancing procedure and systematically evaluate the safety of kidney donation as it evolves to meet the needs of more of our patients.
Copyright © 2011 National Kidney Foundation, Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.