Maine Medical Center: Getting to Know your Kidney Donation Team & Kidney Paired Donations


The following are members of your living donation team:

  • Transplant nephrologist – kidney doctor who specializes in the care of transplant patients
  • Transplant surgeon – doctor who performs the transplant and donation surgeries
  • Pre-transplant coordinator – nurse who guides the transplant recipient through the transplant process
  • Living donation coordinator – nurse who guides potential donors through the donation process
  • Transplant clinic nurse – nurse who works in the transplant clinic and helps patients after transplantation
  • Transplant nurse practitioner – helps the transplant physicians care for you while you are in the hospital and will teach you about your post-donation medications and post-hospital care
  • Transplant social worker – evaluates all patients for mental health and social issues that make come up during or after donation
  • Transplant financial counselor – reviews your insurance coverage and the recipients coverage to asses any financial risk to you from donation
  • Immunologist & genetic lab technologists – lab specialists who perform all of the genetic testing needed between donor and recipient
  • Pharmacists – helps you understand any medications you may be on and their impact on your long term kidney health following donation
  • Dietician – helps you understand your diet before and after donation
  • Additional clinic staff that will assist you while you are at the transplant clinic
  • You – the most important member


If you are willing to donate a kidney and do not have any contraindications to donating, but have a blood type that is incompatible or you are cross-match positive to the intended recipient of your kidney, you may be able to participate in "swap" of living donors. You would donate your kidney to another waiting transplant patient who also has an incompatible living donor, and that living donor gives to your family member or friend who needs a kidney.

Kidney exchange programs allow a donor to participate by donating their kidney to the most suitable candidate on a wait list, and initiate the transplant of more than one incompatible recipient/donor pair. This is called a chain. Chains are a way for one donor to help many patients get transplants instead of just one person. Any donor can volunteer to participate in a paired donation program. Even if you are able to donate to your intended recipient, you have the option of getting many more people transplanted (including your intended recipient). Participation in an exchange program is strictly voluntary.

There are many fine points to these programs and not all of them an be discussed here. It is important to remember that any healthy living donor can be considered, regardless of the blood type or cross-match results!


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