Pay-It-Forward Program | Transplant | Loyola Medicine

Pay-It-Forward Program

Altruistic Kidney Donation to Benefit Transplant Patients

Loyola Medicine provides comprehensive care for end-stage kidney disease patients whose best treatment option is a kidney transplant. For patients who have a willing but incompatible donor, Loyola can offer help with living-donor kidney chains through its highly acclaimed pay-it-forward program. Living-donor kidney chains not only can reduce wait times, but also typically lead to better outcomes.

The program starts with an altruistic donor who, after much reflection, has decided to donate a kidney to a critically ill stranger. Our pay-it-forward program then allows patients with willing but incompatible donors to receive a transplant by matching altruistic donors and donor pairs in similar situations, creating a chain of living-donor kidney transplants.

With these kinds of chain donations, patients who might otherwise die waiting their turn for a deceased-donor kidney on the traditional organ list are now able to receive new kidneys and lead full, productive lives. This couldn’t happen without altruistic donors, who are the soul of our program—we can’t say enough about their selfless generosity.

Why Choose the Pay-It-Forward Program at Loyola?

As a world-class academic medical center, Loyola’s doctors have vast experience caring for patients with end-stage kidney disease and know that the best chance of success for a kidney transplant is a living-donor kidney. For this reason, Loyola’s transplant team is invested in the pay-it-forward program, which provides exceptional outcomes for many patients.

Loyola’s donors and recipients are each cared for by their own multidisciplinary healthcare teams at Loyola, including a nephrologist, transplant surgeon, transplant nurse coordinator, nurse practitioners, procurement nurses, transplant chaplains, physical therapists, dietitians, financial coordinators, clinical pharmacists, social workers, psychologists and even home care nurses.

Loyola’s skilled nephrologists and transplant surgeons are widely recognized for superior patient outcomes. As faculty members at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, your doctors perform and teach the latest surgical techniques and leading-edge medical care. 

How Do Paired and Chain Donations Work?

In a “pay-it-forward” kidney transplant, an altruistic donor gives a kidney to a compatible transplant candidate who has a willing but incompatible donor. The incompatible donor could be a friend, acquaintance or family member who agrees to give a kidney to a third person with an incompatible donor, and a chain reaction begins. A kidney transplant chain can potentially go on forever, but a chain typically ends with a kidney patient who is extremely difficult to match. 

Traditionally, transplant recipients would have to wait about three to five years for a suitable deceased-donor kidney in our region. Now with paired kidney exchanges and chain transplant surgery, our goal is to help every recipient with a healthy donor undergo transplant surgery within a year.

Our approach sets us apart. While many hospitals only look for kidney matches within their own campus, we use this landmark approach to conduct a nationwide search. Not only are these faster matches, but they are better matches. When you have a better match, it reduces the need to suppress the immune system and you are at less risk of rejection. With a more precise match, your kidney will remain healthy for a much longer period of time. The process starts with a transplant evaluation.

Loyola’s innovative pay-it-forward program began when four people offered to donate kidneys to four complete strangers across the country—with no strings attached. The program was the first of its kind in the Midwest. We were honored to take part in the longest kidney transplant chain in United States history.

Loyola has helped numerous kidney patients across the country end dialysis treatment with the pay-it-forward program. Our patients have gotten their lives back and removed their names from the waiting list, which means that others will find a match sooner.

For more information, please contact us at 708-327-4TXP/708-327-4897.