About Living Donation

How to Become a Living Donor

A person must clearly express his interest to be a living donor.

  • Before a donor pre-transplant evaluation is scheduled, your child must be listed on the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) list.
  • Set up an appointment with the liver transplant surgeon. Schedule a complete donor evaluation, which can be done as an outpatient.
  • Your insurance company has to approve a donor evaluation. If the insurance company does not give Children’s pre-certification or authorize these tests, you and your family may need to pay for the charges.
  • Only one person at a time will be accepted for a donor evaluation. If that person is not accepted, the process will begin again starting with the insurance company (see Step 2).
  • Exercise often. Activities such as walking, swimming or biking are strongly advised for donors. This will help the donor recover better after surgery.
  • Follow a healthy diet and stop drinking alcohol or smoking. This allows the donor’s liver to work better. You will also need to stop some medicines if you are taking them. Talk to your doctor and the Children’s Liver Transplant team before you stop any medicine. Herbs, vitamins and nutritional supplements are medicines.

You may decide not to donate at any time. The Children’s Liver Transplant team will keep your decision private.

Why Children's

  • For living donor transplants, Children’s has a 100 percent, one-year survival rate for recipients and donors.
  • Children’s performed Georgia’s first living related liver transplant.

Advantages of a Living Donor Pediatric Liver Transplant

  • The liver comes from a person known to be healthy.
  • Pediatric liver transplant surgery can be scheduled. It can be worked around vacations or time off to allow for greater convenience in your child and family’s life.
  • The pediatric liver transplant can be done before your child becomes very ill. This can help lead to a quicker recovery.


Who Can Be a Living Donor for a Liver Transplant?

A living donor can be anyone—a parent, family member or friend. A donor has to meet certain health standards and have a donor evaluation. Based on these results, the pediatric liver transplant surgeon and team will decide if a donor is a good match for your child. A donor must also:

  • Be older than 18 years of age or age of majority. (The age when a person has all of the rights and responsibilities of being an adult) In most states, the age is 18.
  • Be in good health. Certain medical conditions can prevent a person from being a living donor. This is up to the transplant surgeon to decide. Examples include:
    • Liver disease
    • High blood pressure
    • Diabetes
    • Heart, lung or breathing problems
    • Cancer
    • Urinary tract problems
    • Contagious diseases (a disease able to be passed from one person to another) such as HIV, hepatitis, or tuberculosis (TB)
    • Obesity (very overweight)
    • Be willing to donate part of his liver. The decision to donate must be made freely and without pressure from anyone.
    • Be admitted to the Emory Transplant Center for the evaluation and surgery.
    • Stay in the hospital for an average of seven to 10 days. The donor may not be able to work for up to two months.

    What are the Risks?

    As with any major surgery, there are risks involved. However, most risks associated with a living donor liver transplant surgery are manageable. Some of the risks may include:

    • Pain
    • Bleeding
    • Infection
    • Bile leakage
    • Possible death