If you’re interested in becoming a living liver donor, getting educated on what to expect, including the qualifications of being a living 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 example, at Mayo Clinic, donors must be 60 years old or younger to donate a portion of their liver. This age limit was established because the liver does not grow back as well or as efficiently in people over age 60.
Becoming a living donor
If you’re approved to become a living 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. Because the liver regenerates quickly, a donor’s liver will be back to its original size within a few weeks after surgery. Younger donors will typically see quicker and better results.
In addition to considering your age, the transplant team will take into account other physical factors to determine if you’re compatible with the recipient. The evaluation process includes:
The transplant care team will answer all of 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 not accept living liver donations from a donor who doesn’t know the recipient.
Why become a donor?
Being a living donor is a life-changing choice, both for the donor and the recipient. As a donor, you give someone in need the amazing gift of a second chance at life. If you’re considering living donation, leave us a comment and tell us where you’re at in the process.