Introduction to Living Liver Donation

Living liver donation happens when a living person gives part of his or her liver to someone else who has a liver that is not working. During this surgery, a portion of the donor's liver is removed and placed into the recipient whose own liver was removed.

 

The remaining part of the donor's liver will grow back to the correct size within three months. The same is true for the recipient's liver. The donor and recipient can live well during this time, and soon both the donor and recipient will return to a normal, healthy lifestyle.

 

Living Living Donation is Important

 

Almost 14,000 people who are listed on the national organ transplant waitlist need a liver, and wait times are increasing. Living with liver disease is very difficult. Livers from a deceased donor are given to the sickest patients waiting. Getting a liver from a living donor allows patients to get a liver before having to become so ill.

 

Why a kidney from a living donor is better

 

Living donation

 

The Living Liver Donation Process

 

The donation process is based on the donor's actions and how they wish to move forward. This diagram outlines the steps of living liver donation:

Living Liver Donation Process

  • The donation timeline is based on the donor's actions, and how they wish to move forward.
  • Not everyone who considers donation can or will donate.
  • Our Independent Living Donor Advocate is responsible for representing the donor's wishes, discussing issues and being their advocate.
  • Tests ensure donors are healthy enough to donate. Some tests can be done near home. The final evaluation is at University Hospital.
  • Most expenses, including the donor's evaluation and surgery, are paid by the recipient's insurance. Donors will pay for their own travel expenses, including food, gasoline and hotel. A donor will need time off from work, and may not have paid leave for this use. Donors learn what costs to expect. We share information about tax benefits and explain ways to get help with expenses.
  • Donors are in the hospital for 5-7 days.
  • During recovery, follow up visits are at the Transplant Clinic at University Hospital. Annual physical exams can be with the donor's primary care physician.

A donor and recipient do not have to be related. They just need compatible blood types.

 

Not everyone who considers donation can or will donate. Our Living Donor Advocate represents the donor to make sure their decision remains private. Tests ensure donors are healthy enough to donate. Some tests can be done near home. The final evaluation is at University Hospital. Learn more about the living liver donation experience

 

Financial Cost of Living Donation

 

Most expenses, including the donor's evaluation and surgery, are paid by the recipient's insurance. Donors will pay for their own travel expenses, including food, gasoline and hotel. A donor will need time off from work, and may not have paid leave for this use. Our social workers will tell donors what costs to expect, share information about tax benefits and explain ways to get help with expenses.

 

Who Can Be a Living Liver Donor?

 

People who are older than age 18 and in good physical and emotional health can apply to be a living donor. Donors are often family members or close friends, but it's not unusual for a stranger to be a good match. The best matches happen when the donor and recipient have similar body size and organ anatomy. A liver from a younger person regenerates faster. Our program offers two options for living liver donation. Learn about options for living liver donation

 

Consider Being a Living Liver Donor

 

Living liver donation is an immeasurable gift. To the recipient, their donor will always be a hero. Deceased donation rates continue at about the same pace as in the last 10 years, but the number of people who need a transplant continues to grow. Living donation is the best way to save more lives. Learn how you can be a living liver donor