Swap Donors Save Lives: Three Couples Donate Kidneys to Each Other
The doctors discovered that the couples could donate to each other.
The doctors discovered that the couples could donate to each other.(Photo Courtesy: Pushpawati Singhania Hospital and Research Institute)

Swap Donors Save Lives: Three Couples Donate Kidneys to Each Other

Three men came to Pushpawati Singhania Hospital and Research Institute in South Delhi looking for healthy kidneys. Each of their wives were willing to donate to the husbands. But sadly, the tests showed the organs to be incompatible.

Enter the hospital’s master move. The doctors discovered that the couples could donate to each other. That meant the three women ended up donating their kidneys separately to the three men instead of their own husbands.

They had all been waiting for a transplant for a few months and this arrangement saved the men a great amount of discomfort, and perhaps even their lives. They had been waiting for matching donors because an incompatible donor transplant costs more than double and the families couldn’t afford it.

Also Read: Living Organ Donation Can Save Lives – It’s Time to Step Up

Couple A, Ajay and Maya Shukla from Delhi, waited for 4 months. Couple B, Md Umar Yusuf and Sana Khatun from Delhi, waited for 5 months. Couple C, Kamlesh Mandal and Lakshmi Chhaya from Bihar, waited for 2 months. Here’s how they mixed and matched:

  • Patient A received the kidney from Donor B
  • Patient B received the kidney from Donor C
  • Patient C received the kidney from Donor A

The couples were counselled and explained how this was a good option.

Once everyone was on the same page, the real struggle began.

All three operations had to take place on the same day. Five operation theatres were running at the same time to carry out this plan.

Explaining why the operations had to be done simultaneously, Dr P P Singh, director and head of kidney transplant surgery, told Times of India, “What if the other donor backed out later or developed health issues and couldn’t donate the organ? Also, there is up to 5 percent chances of graft rejection. In case of such things happening, the other donors must have felt cheated.”

Also Read: Kidney Patient? Read How the New Transplant Policy Will Affect You

According to the Transplantation of Human Organs Act, organs can either be retrieved from cadavers or from brain dead patients with family consent, or may be donated by living donors.

The law recognises three types of living donors: near relatives like parents, siblings, grandparents, grandchildren or spouses; others who can donate for “affection and attachment” or for a special reason but not for financial considerations; and swap donors where near relative donors are swapped between patients whose own family members are incompatible.

One of the donors told Times of India, that they have all become friends now.

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