Have questions about living liver donation?
There is a considerable amount of information about living
liver donation on this site. Click here to
get started. You can also find answers to questions on the Links
page. You can read about the experiences of other living kidney donors
on the Experiences
Here are additional questions and answers:
Q1: I want to donate to my child. What do I
need to do?
Q2: What are the long-term effects on a living
Q3: These procedures are fairly new, so are they
covered by insurance?
Q4: I would like to donate as an unrelated donor.
How can I do that?
Q5: At what health care facilities is living liver
Q6: I've got lots of questions about donating. Who
should I talk to?
A1: I want to donate to my child. What do
I need to do?
Your ability to donate depends on several factors, including your blood
and tissue compatibility, your general health, the health of your
liver, and your financial situation. You can read about the assessment
You will also need to consider who else might be available to donate
and how to decide who ultimately donates. You may also need to weigh
living donation against the possibility of a cadaveric donation.
A2: What are the long-term effects on a
living liver donor?
Data are not available on the long-term effects. Information so far is
anecdotal. There have been five deaths of living donors reported in
the US with few details on the circumstances. There are no published
incidents of failing health as a consequence of living donation; there
have been no formal studies we are aware of.
A3: These procedures are fairly new, so
are they covered by insurance?
For the most part, yes. Policies vary, and some may exclude this
procedure as "experimental," so you'll want to check the insurance
policy of the transplant recipient. (It is the recipient's policy that
pays.) Note that Medicare in the US does not cover the expenses of
living liver donors.
A4: I would like to donate as an unrelated
donor. How can I do that?
As with kidney donation, there is interest by some members of the
general population in making a "nondirected" donation, which is a
donation that goes to anyone waiting for a liver transplant. You can
contact your local organ procurement organization to see if they have a
program. It is also possible to donate to a friend or family member
where there is an emotional but not a biological tie. The transplant
center will let you know what their policy is concerning such unrelated
donation. It is becoming more common to allow such donation, although
UNOS data show this form of donation is still unusual.
A5: At what health care facilities is
living liver donation available?
This changes quite a bit. Generally, you will want to check with the
closest teaching hospital, preferably one with a sizeable pediatric
wing. Facilities we are aware of include: University of California, San
Francisco Medical Center; University of Nebraska Medical Center; University of Colorado Hospital; The Mayo Clinic;
University of Southern California University Hospital; and Johns
A6: I've got lots of questions about
donating. Who should I talk to?
The first place to go is the transplant team. Talk to the transplant
coordinator (usually a nurse), the surgeon, the social worker, or
whomever you are most comfortable with. You should also consider
talking with friends, family, religious leaders, and others you trust.
You can also ask questions here in the LDO Message Forum.