ROCKVILLE, Md. (May 5, 2022) — The American Kidney Fund (AKF) applauds Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp for signing into law important protections for living organ donors in the state. The Giving the Gift of Life Act (H.B. 275) prohibits life insurers from discriminating against living organ donors by denying or canceling coverage and increases tax credits available for living donors to a maximum of $25,000.
AKF worked closely with the bill's sponsor, Sen. John Albers (District 56), to advance the Giving the Gift of Life Act through the Georgia General Assembly, and AKF is very grateful for his commitment to saving lives through living organ donation. As a kidney donor himself, Albers knows firsthand the organ donation process and the importance of removing barriers to living donations. In August 2020, Albers donated a kidney to his 24-year-old son, Will.
AKF is leading the nationwide effort to pass living donor protections at the state level. With the Giving the Gift of Life Act, Georgia becomes the 26th state to enact living donor protections in recent years, thanks to legislation spearheaded by AKF.
"Living donor protections, like those in the Giving the Gift of Life Act, save lives by removing barriers to living organ donation and making more transplants possible. We are grateful to Gov. Kemp, the Georgia General Assembly and the AKF Ambassadors who provided written testimony on behalf of the legislation," said LaVarne A. Burton, AKF President and CEO. "By prohibiting discriminatory practices against living organ donors and increasing incentives for both individuals and their employers to donate, there will be more organs available for the nearly 4,000 Georgians on the organ transplant waiting list, including more than 3,500 who are waiting for a kidney."
Increasing living donor protections is a cornerstone of AKF's policy agenda. AKF's State of the States: Living Donor Protection Report Card measures seven types of legislation states should enact to provide protections for living organ donors and encourage living donations. In the absence of federal legislation to protect living donors, there is an uneven patchwork of protections across the nation, with some states providing no protections at all.
Signing the Giving the Gift of Life Act into law moves Georgia's Report Card grade up from a C to a B. The overall grade average for the United States is now a C.
Most transplanted organs are from deceased donors, but patients may also receive organs from living donors. Living donation offers an alternative for individuals awaiting transplantation from a deceased donor and increases the existing organ supply. Transplants from living donors generally have fewer complications than deceased donor transplants and a longer survival of the donor organ.
There are more than 106,000 Americans on the organ transplant waiting list and over 92,000 of them, or 87%, are waiting for a kidney. Of the 25,490 kidney transplants performed in the U.S. in 2021, just 5,971 (23%) were made possible by living organ donors. In Georgia, just 176 of 861 (20%) kidney transplants performed in 2021 were from living donors.
AKF provides long-term financial assistance that makes transplants and post-transplant care possible for low-income dialysis patients. In 2021, AKF grants helped 1,889 people nationwide receive kidney transplants — 7% of all kidney transplants performed in the United States last year. AKF's program helps post-transplant patients for their full insurance plan year, ensuring continuity of care.
About the American Kidney Fund
The American Kidney Fund (AKF) fights kidney disease on all fronts as the nation’s leading kidney nonprofit. AKF works on behalf of the 37 million Americans living with kidney disease, and the millions more at risk, with an unmatched scope of programs that support people wherever they are in their fight against kidney disease—from prevention through transplant. With programs that address early detection, disease management, financial assistance, clinical research, innovation and advocacy, no kidney organization impacts more lives than AKF. One of the nation’s top-rated nonprofits, AKF invests 97 cents of every donated dollar in programs, earning the highest 4-Star rating from Charity Navigator for 20 years in a row as well as the Platinum Seal of Transparency from Candid, formerly GuideStar.