Living Donor Steps

Before anyone can be a living donor, he must have a series of tests to make sure he is the best match for your child.

Step 1
A person wishing to be a donor for your child’s liver transplant calls the Children’s Liver Transplant coordinator.

Step 2
The liver transplant financial counselor asks your insurance company for approval for the donor evaluation. The recipients insurance may pay for this. If you do not have insurance, our financial counselors will work with you to set up a payment plan.

  • Medical coverage varies for living donation. Typically, the recipient’s insurance provider covers your medical expenses, including the costs of the evaluation, doctor’s fees and hospitalization.
  • Talk to your employer’s human resources department regarding leave from work. Most donors use vacation and sick leave during their recovery period; however, some employers give special leave for organ donation.

Step 3
Your insurance company approves the donor evaluation. The Children’s Liver Transplant coordinator sets up the donor evaluation at the Emory Transplant Center. A living donor usually has the same blood type as your child.

  • Every person has one of four blood types: O, A, B or AB. Type O is the most common. Type B is the least common.
  • If you don’t know your blood type, you can donate blood or call your local American Red Cross and a blood type test can be done. If you have had surgery or given birth, your doctor may have a record of your blood type.

Step 4
If the donor’s blood type is a good match with your child’s, the pre-transplant evaluation can take place.

Step 5
The donor will have a two-day, outpatient evaluation at Emory University Hospital. The donor’s test results may take more than six weeks.

  • Based on the donor’s evaluation and tests results, the Children’s Liver Transplant team decides if the donor is a good match.
  • If the donor is not a good match, the process will begin again with the insurance company (see Step 2).

What if I Want 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.