Addressing kidney transplant shortage: The potential of kidney paired exchanges in Jordan


Jordan performed the Middle East's first living-donor kidney transplant in 1972. In 1977, the country became one of the first Arab countries to regulate organ donation and transplantation. Despite these early advances in living donor transplantation, Jordan's organ donation after brain death program remains inactive, making it challenging to meet organ demand and placing many patients on long transplant waiting lists. As of 2020, only 14.2% of the patients with end-stage kidney disease have access to a living donor. The scarcity of compatible living donors exacerbates Jordan's organ shortage, leaving patients with extended waits and uncertain transplant prospects. Due to the lack of living donors and the inactive brain death donation program, additional options are needed to meet organ demand. Kidney paired exchange (KPE), emerges as a potential solution to the problem of donor shortage and donor-recipient incompatibility. By allowing living donors to direct their donated organs to different compatible recipients, KPE offers the promise of expanding transplant opportunities for patients without suitable living donors. However, the current Jordanian law restricting living kidney donation to fifth-degree relatives further limits the pool of potential donors, aggravating the organ shortage situation. This article explores the feasibility of implementing KPE in Jordan and proposes an approach to implementing KPE in Jordan, considering ethical and legal aspects to substantially increase kidney transplants.

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