Can You Donate a Kidney to a Different Blood Type?

Kidney donors must have compatible blood type with recipient for successful transplantation process. Learn more about ABO-incompatible kidney transplants.

Can You Donate a Kidney to a Different Blood Type?

Kidney donors must have a blood type compatible with the recipient. The Rh factor (+ or -) in the blood doesn't matter in a transplant. You may have heard discussions about “compatibility” and kidney transplantation. There are actually three tests that are done to evaluate donors: blood type, cross-compatibility and HLA tests.

This blood test is the first step in the process of donating live food and determines if you are compatible or “match” your recipient, blood type. There are 4 different blood types. The most common blood type in the population is type O. The next most common is blood group A, then blood group B, and the rarest is blood group AB.

The donor's blood type must be compatible with the recipient. The rules for blood type in transplantation are the same as for blood transfusion. Some blood types may affect others and others may not. Blood type O is considered the universal donor.

People with blood group O can donate to any other blood group. Blood group AB is called the universal receptor because it can receive an organ or blood from people with any type of blood. The table below shows what type of blood you can donate to what. A kidney from a person with a blood group A cannot be transplanted to someone with a blood group B, or the other way around.

However, changing the blood type to universal O will allow more transplants to be performed, since O can be used in people of any blood group. Being a compatible blood group is just one part of knowing if a person will be compatible. You can still donate your organs even if you don't belong to a compatible blood group. The Rh factor is not important for kidney compatibility.

In a kidney transplant that is incompatible with ABO, the donor's blood group and blood group are not compatible. For those who need it, Mayo Clinic doctors and surgeons have experience treating people with a kidney transplant that is incompatible with the ABO. Professor Mike Nicholson and doctoral student Serena MacMillan used a normothermic infusion machine (a device that connects to a human kidney to pass oxygenated blood through the organ and better preserve it for future use) to make blood infused with an enzyme flow through the deceased kidney. Researchers have also developed treatments to reduce rejection of a donor's kidney when the recipient's antibodies react against a donor's tissue and cells (a positive cross-compatible kidney transplant).

The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is the largest, most comprehensive and oldest organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention and treatment of kidney disease. If you have a living donor, but that person's kidney is not compatible with you, you can still receive a kidney transplant from a living donor. People from minority communities are more likely to have type B blood, and with the current low donation rates of these populations, there simply aren't enough kidneys for everyone. If your blood group doesn't match the donor's blood group, you won't be able to get a kidney from that person directly, but you can still get a kidney transplant from another donor through paired kidney donation.

The infusion machine allows them to do this before performing the test on people, since they can take kidneys that have been changed to type O, use the machine to introduce different types of blood and monitor how the kidney might react, simulating the transplant process in the body. She recently began volunteering for Kidney Research UK as part of the charity's peer education program, a program that recruits trusted members of the community to talk openly about kidney disease. Over the years, advances in medicine made possible an ABO-incompatible kidney transplant between some recipients and living donors. If a person gets a kidney from someone with an incompatible blood type, the normal immune system will reject it immediately because natural antibodies fight different types of blood.

The project, funded by the charity Kidney Research UK, could increase the supply of kidneys available for transplants, especially among ethnic minority groups, which are less likely to be compatible with most donated kidneys. Convincing communities that research like this and organ donation are beneficial is crucial to improving and saving lives. With a kidney transplant that is incompatible with ABO, you receive medical treatment before and after the kidney transplant to lower the levels of antibodies in the blood and reduce the risk of antibodies rejecting the donor's kidney. This blood test is the first step in the living donation process and determines if you are compatible or “compatible” with your recipient.

Morris Bievenue
Morris Bievenue

Total internet geek. Hipster-friendly creator. Alcohol trailblazer. Certified food scholar. Alcohol expert. Extreme introvert.

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