Am I Too Old to be a Living Liver Donor?

Oct 25 2:00pm | Kristin Eggebraaten | @keggebraaten

If you’re interested in becoming a living liver donor, getting educated on what to expect, including the qualifications of being a living liver donor, is an important first step. As you do your research, make a list of questions for your transplant center because many centers employ different criteria for their donors. For instance, at Mayo Clinic, the age limit for liver donation is set at 59 years or younger. This criterion has been established due to the fact that liver regeneration is more effective in individuals aged 59 and below.

While this article focuses on living liver donors, we did want to mention that there is no specific age restriction for being a living kidney donor. You can learn more about living kidney donation here.

Becoming a living liver donor

If you’re approved to become a living liver donor, a piece of your liver will be removed and transplanted into a recipient. This procedure is possible because the liver has the unique and amazing ability to grow back and regenerate itself. The liver regenerates quickly. A donor’s liver will regain its full function within a few weeks after surgery.

In addition to considering your age, the transplant team will review other physical factors to determine if you’re compatible with the recipient. The evaluation process includes:

  • Blood tests to determine if your blood and tissue types are compatible
  • An interview with transplant staff to review your medical history
  • A thorough physical evaluation
  • A thorough psychological evaluation
  • Detailed imaging of your liver

The transplant care team will answer all your questions and discuss the benefits and risks of donation with you and your family. Many liver donors are relatives, but the transplant team also evaluates non-relatives, such as close friends and co-workers. It’s important to note that Mayo Clinic does accept living liver donations from a donor who doesn’t know the recipient.  This is called non directed or good Samaritan donation.

Why become a donor?

Choosing to be a living liver donor is a profound and transformative decision, greatly impacting both the donor and the recipient. By selflessly donating a portion of your liver, you provide someone in need with the extraordinary gift of a second chance at life. If you are contemplating living donation, we warmly invite you to share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment. We are here to offer support, guidance, and information every step of the way.


Interested in more newsfeed posts like this? Go to the Transplant blog.

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