Organ donor website with X-Factor style appeals for a life-saving kidney coming to UK


17:15 GMT, 30 August 2012



17:15 GMT, 30 August 2012

A controversial U.S website that allows people who need a kidney to plead directly for a donor online is launching in the UK.

The NHS runs an anonymous scheme so that altruistic donors are not informed who ends up getting their kidney. It is given to the person who is judged by a medical panel to most need it and who will benefit most from it.

However, under the American scheme users who sign up to the website MatchingDonors can watch personal appeals and read about their background before deciding who they would like to donate to.

One person makes an appeal via the MatchingDonors website

One person makes an appeal via the MatchingDonors website

Many needy recipients upload videos of themselves perhaps playing the guitar, while others feature their children asking viewers to help make their parents better.

Potential donors can also get in touch with the patient via a messaging service. Once a person decides they would like to donate their kidney they can check to see if they are a blood type match before their suitability is tested further. It is made clear on the website that it is illegal to offer or receive payment for the organ.

The website, based in Boston, has successfully matched around 250 strangers, which is twice as many as the NHS has managed.

Paul Dooley, from MatchingDonors told ITV: 'We have wanted to come to England for the longest time. We have the ability to take our system to the UK and save their lives.'

Rebecca Rogers from Ramsgate has signed up to MatchingDonors because she wants a more personal system.

'I like knowing who I am going to give my kidney to,' she told ITV.

'You don't get that in the UK. You just go to the hospital and they expect you to give it up just like that.'

However, the website has been criticised by doctors who say organ donations should not be decided on the basis of who can tell the 'saddest story.'

For more watch The Kindness of Strangers, ITV, Thursday, 7.30pm