Living kidney donations in Israel jump 40% in 2016

ISRAEL - Kidneys donated by 104 men and 23 women save 127 patients. Transplants performed at hospitals in Israel and abroad. About 15% of dialysis patients die each year • Matnat Chaim nonprofit group seeks to eradicate waiting list for donor kidneys in Israel.

Living kidney donations saved 127 people in Israel this year, an increase of over 40% compared to 2015, the Matnat Chaim nonprofit group, which helped facilitate the donation and transplant process, announced Tuesday.

In the nine years it has been in operation, the group, which mentors donors and encourages healthy individuals to save lives by donating a kidney, has enlisted 380 living donors, who saved the lives of 380 patients. Since the organization launched, the number of living kidney donors has risen by about 250%.

The transplants of the kidneys from Israeli donors were conducted in six hospitals in Israel and two hospitals abroad. More than half (58%) of the transplants took place at the Rabin Medical Center and at Schneider Children's Medical Center, both in Petach Tikva. Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center performed 24% of the transplants.

A total of 104 men and 23 women donated kidneys. According to the Matnat Chaim, women are advised to donate kidneys only after they can no longer conceive or bear children.

A study by economist David Boaz in conjunction with Matnat Chaim found that increasing living kidney donations cuts down on health care costs. According to the study, in 2016 alone, the donations saved the health care system some 250 million shekels ($65 million).

Some 15% of the 8,300 dialysis patients in Israel die each year. About 845 of them are candidates for a kidney transplant. About 400 new patients each year face dialysis if they do not receive a kidney.

Rabbi Yeshayahu Heber, founder of Matnat Chaim, who is a former dialysis patient himself, said that "donating a kidney gives the patient many years, and even enriches the life of the donor."

Heber added that "I long for the day when we can eradicate the waiting list for kidneys in Israel."

References: Living kidney donations in Israel jump 40% in 2016