NOTE: This letter conveys my personal opinions only and is not written on behalf of Johns Hopkins University, nor does it imply any involvement by the University in this matter.
At a press briefing on Nov. 20 announcing the first quintuple-swap kidney transplant, I made a plea to Congress to clarify language in organ donor and transplant law so that a national matching program to facilitate kidney paired donation (KPD) could be organized by the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS) with the government’s approval and support. Under current federal law, organs cannot be donated with the expectation that the donor will receive consideration or payment. Donors who are involved in KPD transplants make their donations with the expectation that a specific person, usually a loved one, will then receive a compatible organ from a different donor. It is feared that this expectation could be considered a form of recompense for donation, thus running afoul of the law. This provision in the current law should be clarified to encourage these important, life-saving operations on a broader scale.
Robert Montgomery, M.D., Ph.D.