We check your blood type on two separate occasions. If you know your blood type, you may bring a copy of recent laboratory results with you to one of your clinic visits or have it faxed to our office. We check your blood to see if you have come in contact with any viruses that could cause a problem after your receive a transplant.
We send samples of your blood to our transplant lab to check your antigens and antibodies. Antigens are proteins that sit on your white blood cells. You have hundreds of them. Your antigens make you who you are and they never change. We measure only six of them – three you received from your mother and three you received from your father. In the past, we looked at brothers or sisters from the same mother/father combination as the best donors. However, we are not limited to blood relatives as donors any longer. It is very common for a friend or spouse to donate a kidney to someone in need.
The lab will also measure your antibody level. This level could range from 0 to 100 percent. The higher the value, the more likely you have had a blood transfusion, had a prior transplant or given birth. The higher the value, the more likely you will react when we test you with a potential donor. When the transplant team thinks they may have a potential donor for you, living or deceased, we will put some of your blood in a test tube and some of the donor’s blood in the same test tube and see if the cells get along with each other. If there is a reaction (the cells start dying) we know you cannot accept that particular kidney. On the other hand, if there is no reaction and the cells get along with each other, we know that you could accept that kidney.