Living Donors Save Lives - A 2021 Update

Aug 13, 2021 | Kristin Eggebraaten | @keggebraaten | Comments (6)

Before we talk about living donation, we want to give credit to all our donors and donor families who have selflessly saved so many lives. This blog is dedicated to living donation, but let us not forget those who paved the way for organ transplant – our deceased donors.

Nearly 100,000 people in America are waiting for a kidney transplant and more than 14,000 for a liver transplant. Unfortunately, many may never get the call saying that an organ — and a second chance at life — has been found. If you could help, would you?

Most people have two kidneys, but only need one. And the liver has an amazing ability to regenerate and grow back to its full size in a matter of weeks. Therefore, living donation is a promising alternative to waiting for a deceased kidney or liver. Living donation is not only good for the recipient, but every living donor transplant relieves some of the strain on the deceased donor waiting list.

Over the last several months to years, the transplant system has improved. Now patients who need a kidney transplant can be transplanted at higher BMIs. Patients who need a liver transplant can receive a living donor from anyone who matches, not just a relative or close friend. Both of these programs have a paired exchange options where recipients can “switch” donors to get their best match.

Over the next several weeks, help Mayo Clinic raise awareness of living donation. Explore our toolkits, share our posts on social media, and talk to friends and loved ones about the impact that can be made through living donation.

Living donation is a wonderful act of generosity and courage, taking place when a living person chooses to give the ultimate gift of an organ donation to someone in need.

Learn more about the donation process with our Living Donor Toolkit.


If you’ve been told you need a kidney, liver, or any organ transplant, we’re here to provide you with all the details of this process, from finding a donor to recovering from your operation.

See how our Organ Specific Toolkits can help you in your transplant process. Click on the “More” tab for organ specific information.


Why Be a Living Donor?

For one Minnesota woman, finding a match appeared to be hopeless. She had a 1 in 3,000 chance of finding a kidney that her body would accept. Waiting on the deceased donor list could have been a death sentence, but thanks to a living donor transplant chain that spanned across the country, she has a new kidney and a new lease on life.

Learn more about Amy’s story and the kidney paired exchange process.

Did You Know...?

On average, living donor kidneys last 20 years while deceased donor kidneys last 10 years. That’s 10 extra birthdays to celebrate!

Learn more about living donation with our Frequently Asked Questions.

Be a Living Donor

If you have interest in becoming a living donor, find out how to get started on being a candidate for donation.


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

I was an altruistic living donor of my kidney in 2020. I would also love to be an altruistic donor of part of my liver if Mayo starts allowing it after a kidney donation. I would be happy to share my journey with anyone that is wanting more information from a personal perspective.


Please point out the age limit. I was surprised to read no one over 65 can donate.


Hello, I didn't see where it said that the donor limit age is 65? Is that for liver donation?


I am in need of liver
And kidney. First liver is rejecting. I am 60 in nj. Please spread the word. My belly is so distended and I'm nauseous, I bruise easily and lack energy, weak and losing muscle tone rapidly. Please help.


Here is more information:
- Am I Too Old to be a Living Liver Donor?

What is the cut-off age for being a living donor?

Generally speaking, for a related living kidney donor we may consider people in their 70s, and for unrelated donors we typically consider people in their 60s as the highest age. The upper age limit for donating part of your liver is 60 years old. The liver needs to regenerate after a part of it is removed for donation, and this regeneration slows down as we age.


I am in need of liver
And kidney. First liver is rejecting. I am 60 in nj. Please spread the word. My belly is so distended and I'm nauseous, I bruise easily and lack energy, weak and losing muscle tone rapidly. Please help.

Jump to this post

Hi Jennie, I'm so sorry to hear that your first liver transplant is rejecting and that you need to find a new liver and kidney donor. Where are you listed?

Please sign in or register to post a reply.