For the first time in our country, an altruistic donor or 'Good Samaritan' has donated his kidney to a stranger. This fact has also led to a chain of kidney transplants that have been carried out in the Virgen de las Nieves Hospital of Granada and the Puigvert Foundation of Barcelona.

In this chain of interventions a total of six people have participated: the aforementioned 'Good Samaritan', two couples (with one donor and one recipient each) and one last recipient who was on the waiting list of a deceased donor for three years. The six interventions were carried out on April 6 in both hospitals "in just a few hours", between eight in the morning at five in the afternoon of that day, and both the donors and the recipients have already been discharged. They find good health.

The chain began thanks to the disinterested will of a man who decided to donate his kidney to a stranger

The chain began thanks to the disinterested will of a man who decided to donate his kidney to a stranger. In turn, the recipient of that kidney donated his, which was received by another recipient in Granada, and whose partner, in turn, donated his kidney again to a citizen who was on the waiting list in Barcelona. In the case of the two couples, it was the man who received the transplant and the woman who donated one of her kidneys.

The good organization between the ONT, the regional transplant coordinators and the professionals of both hospitals has been key in the good evolution of the operation. For Dr. Matesanz, the great "advantage" is that "those who have traveled have been the organs", and not the donors or recipients.

The figure of the good Samaritan

The beginning of this chain would not have been possible without the generosity of the 'Good Samaritan' donor, a figure approved in 2010 by the ONT and the communities to encourage kidney transplantation from living donors, and since its announcement a total of of 35 people, of which 18 have been rejected for various physical or psychological causes.

"Donors are always altruistic, but in this case they are more so since they donate their kidney live to a person they do not know," said Dr. Matesanz, who acknowledges that "he is the man of the day and even of the year." This good Samaritan, of whom it is only known that it is male and religious, he had to pass different recognitions to evaluate his physical and psychic state and to verify that he was "the adequate donor", for which he is asked not to have any health problem and that his action is "voluntary and disinterested".

The 'Good Samaritan' donor, who maintains his anonymity, acknowledges that, in addition to feeling "lighter" after the intervention, he decided to offer this chain of donations live because it seems "a prodigious and fascinating option that gives the life a meaning of joy distributed to others that benefits everyone ".

"Giving, I receive much more than the one I receive," the donor insisted, acknowledging that he made the decision after being "for administrative reasons" in a Latin American prison where organ trafficking was discussed.

The recipient of the last of the transplants has appreciated the "good action" performed by this citizen, who considers "a fantastic person" who "would love to know to thank him", although the law prohibits it. "Now I have projects, I can go out with my husband, I find myself as a normal and free person, and not before," this woman acknowledged.

Do you want to donate?

The ONT has a cross-renal transplant program in which there are a total of 13 attached centers and which can target those kidney patients who need a transplant and have a partner or family member who are willing to donate but are not compatible. So far, a total of 62 couples have registered and four chain transplants have been carried out, all without a 'good Samaritan' donor.

"If the donor does not have any risk factor, the possibility of developing renal failure when staying with a kidney is very low or nonexistent"

In addition, Matesanz points out, the live kidney donation that these chains require, as well as the figure of the 'good samaritan', has a very low risk for the donor. "If the donor does not have any risk factor, not even hypertension or obesity, the possibility of developing kidney failure when staying with a kidney is very low or none," he explained. In fact, he adds, "sometimes they have even greater survival, and not because it's healthy to donate a kidney, but because they're very well-selected people."


The living donor kidney transplant is regulated in Spain by the Transplant Act 30/1979, applied by Royal Decree 2070/1999.The Spanish legislation allows the donation in life of an organ, as long as this donation is compatible with life and the function of the organ or part of it is compensated by the organism. These are conditions that occur in living kidney donation. And, although it does not refer to the figure of the 'Good Samaritan', our law allows donation among unrelated people.

As happens in the donation between relatives, it is essential that the altruistic donor or 'good Samaritan' gives his consent in an express, free and disinterested way. As well must be of legal age, be in full faculties and in perfect physical and mental health. For this, it will be evaluated by different health professionals. The ethics committee of the transplant center must also issue a report favorable to the donation.

Subsequently, the donor will declare before a judge of the civil registry his will to donate a kidney without any condition, in the presence of the doctor who is going to perform the extraction, the hospital transplant coordinator and the doctor who has certified his health status.

As a patient, the only requirements that are required is to suffer from a kidney disease that requires a transplant and to have a partner or a non-compatible donor family member.

Hospitals must be accredited to participate in the kidney transplant program with cross donation. Currently they are and 13 Spanish centers assigned:

  • Hospital Clínic i Provincial de Barcelona.
  • Hospital Doce de Octubre in Madrid.
  • Fundació Puigvert Hospital of Barcelona.
  • Hospital University Complex of A Coruña.
  • University Hospital of Bellvitge, Barcelona.
  • University Hospital of La Paz, Madrid.
  • Virgen de las Nieves Hospital in Granada.
  • Virgen del Rocío Hospital in Seville.
  • Germans Trías i Pujol of Badalona
  • Hospital Puerta del Mar in Cádiz
  • Sant Joan de Deu, from Barcelona
  • Carlos Haya Hospital in Málaga
  • Hospital la Fe de Valencia


Kidney Donor Chain (November 2019).