Giving the gift of life

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April is National Donate Life Month, instituted by Donate Life America. Recognized each April, it encourages Americans to register as organ, eye and tissue donors, and to celebrate those who have saved lives through donation.

Earlier this year at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Natalie Fisby gave her younger sister Lacey Laird, who had kidney disease, the ultimate gift by donating one of her kidneys. Lacey joined us on the show today, as well as Dr. Sanjiv Anand, Intermountain Healthcare Nephrologist.

The transplant program at Intermountain Medical Center is one of the programs offering nationwide kidney swaps.  The program helps a living kidney donor, who isn’t compatible with their designated recipient,  exchange kidneys with another donor and recipient, eliminating compatibility issues. Last year Intermountain Medical Center Transplant teams performed 30 living kidney donation surgeries.

While the outcomes are very good for transplant patients who receive deceased donor organs, transplants performed from living donors can have several advantages:

  • Shorter waiting time for recipients: In Utah, patients must be very near death before they can receive a liver from a deceased donor. With a living donor, the surgery is scheduled as soon as the recipient and donor complete their testing.
  • Shorter waiting lists for everyone else: The use of living donors reduces the number of people on the deceased donor list who may not have a living donor available to them.
  • Transplant success rates are greater with living donors: A kidney from a living donor usually functions immediately, making it easier to monitor. Some deceased donor kidneys do not function immediately, which may require some dialysis.
  • Living donor transplants between family members who are genetically similar lessens the risk of rejection.

If you’re interested in becoming a living liver donor, you can call Intermountain Medical Center’s transplant center at 801-507-3380. To become a kidney donor, fill out the screening form at

You are also encouraged to register as an organ donor when you renew your driver’s license, or by going to Even those who are elderly or have chronic conditions may still be good donors.

To learn more, go to

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