Frequently asked questions - ANZKX program

This page provides answers to some frequently asked questions about the ANZKX program.

If you have a specific question you are encouraged to contact the ANZKX program team directly.

How can I join the program?

To register with the ANZKX program, you need to contact your kidney specialist.

You and your willing donor will:

  • need to provide a detailed medical history
  • undergo a number of medical tests
  • have the program explained to you by a medical professional
  • sign a consent form stating that you understand the ANZKX program and agree to participate.

Who can participate in the program?

If you are eligible for a kidney transplant and are receiving care at a transplant centre in Australia or New Zealand, you may be able to participate in the ANZKX program. There are conditions for participation:

  1. You must have a living donor who is willing but unable to donate to you because of an incompatible blood type or tissue type.
  2. Your donor must be willing to donate a kidney to someone else.

What is the chance of finding a match?

The majority of patients entering ANZKX are offered a match within the first 6 to 12 months. However, this depends on both donor and recipient characteristics. Your transplant unit can give you more information about this, based on your particular situation.

In some cases the chance of finding a match can be increased by having more than one donor enter the program.

How does the ANZKX program find a match?

If a match is found, your kidney specialist will inform you. More testing will confirm that the recipient and potential donor are compatible. Once the testing is completed, each donor-recipient pair will meet with their own transplant team to discuss the results. If the donor-recipient pairs agree to the exchange, they will proceed to surgery.

If you are identified for a possible donor-recipient exchange, there is no guarantee that the transplant will go ahead. There are physical and psychological issues to be considered. You will receive advice and support to help you understand these issues.

Where would the transplant take place?

If all parties agree to an exchange, and are medically compatible, the 2 transplant surgeries would take place at different transplant centres on the same day. Each recipient would receive their kidney on the same day as their friend or relative donates.

Can I contact the other couple?

No. Strict privacy and confidentiality must be maintained for each donor-recipient pair. One of the reasons for using different hospital sites for the 2 pairs of donors and recipients is to protect the privacy of the donor-recipient pairs.

Can I change my mind after I join the program?

Yes. Donors and recipients can change their minds at any time leading up to surgery. The donor operations take place at the same time, so that neither party is disadvantaged.

What happens if no match is found?

If no match is found, you can stay on the register and re-enter the match runs. However, if no suitable pair matches are found after a period of time, you may wish to consider other options after speaking with your kidney specialist.

How will my privacy be protected?

As with all medical information, your details will stay confidential. The program coordinator will enter your information into a database. Staff, physicians, surgeons and the program director will review the information.

Your information will not be shared with anyone outside the ANZKX program or the participating transplant centres without your permission.

Can I speak with the media about my transplant?

Media outlets sometimes contact donors about this type of transplant. You may be approached to speak or write about your experience. However, because anonymity between pairs must be maintained, please first check with your transplant centre if you intend to participate in any media interviews.

For more information please contact the ANZKX program coordinator.

Can I post details about my transplant on social media?

Keeping in line with the current DonateLife Social Media Guidelines an in order to maintain confidentiality and anonymity of all participants in an exchange, everyone (program participants, family members, and friends) are asked to refrain from posting anything about the chain or upcoming transplant pre-surgery. In particular, details such as names, approximate dates or locations of surgery should not be posted.

If a significant breach of confidentiality was to occur pre-surgery, the ANZKX team would need to consider whether the chain whose details had been posted should proceed.

Post-transplant we also ask that participants refrain from posting dates or 'identifying' details around the surgery.

How can I get more information?

If you still have questions after reading through this content, your kidney specialist will be able to provide you with more information.

Donor-recipient pairs can access counselling support through the transplant centre, both before and after the paired kidney exchange.

You can also contact the ANZKX program directly.