Video: What Is Living Organ Donation? | UPMC

If you’re on the waiting list for a liver transplant, it’s important to keep an open mind when it comes to living donation. A living donor can help you receive a transplant sooner, which could save your life.

Asking someone to become your living donor can be challenging and even nerve-wracking. Because only about one in four people evaluated for living donation are eligible candidates, it’s important to talk with as many friends and family members as possible.

RELATED: Quiz: Do You Know Organ Donation Myths from Facts?

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Starting a Conversation About Living Donation

Directly asking someone to become your donor can be uncomfortable. It helps to start by simply sharing your story with family and friends. People in your life may not fully understand the severity of your situation, so talk to them about your illness and why a living donor is the best option for you.

Ready to learn more about transplant? Get started by visiting the Living Donor Champion Toolkit from UPMC. 

When discussing living donation, be prepared to answer questions about who can be a donor and what’s involved in the process. For a liver transplant, living donors must:

  • Be between the ages of 18 and 60.
  • Have a body mass index less than or equal to 32.
  • Not engage in active drug or substance abuse.
  • Be in good general health and have no history of pulmonary hypertension, HIV, liver disease (like cirrhosis or hepatitis), active cancer, or other serious diseases.

Remember to stay positive when talking to people about living donation. Not everyone will be able to help, so don’t get discouraged when someone declines. People may be able to lend support in other ways, including sharing your story with people they know.

Asking Around

There are probably people in your life who you feel more comfortable talking to about your situation than others. It’s a good idea to start by sharing your story with people you feel most comfortable talking to, including:

  • Coworkers.
  • Neighbors.
  • Members of your religious organization.
  • Friends in the community.
  • Family members.

If you’re struggling to find a donor, try using social media to raise awareness. Creating a Facebook page dedicated to your cause allows you to reach a wider group of people.

RELATED: Your Transplant Support System: Living Donor Champions

Identifying a Living Donor Champion

A living donor champion plays an important role in your transplant journey by taking the lead in helping you find a living donor.

Your champion can be a friend or a relative who can tell people your story and let them know what you need so you can focus on staying healthy. With the support of your champion, finding a donor can be a much more manageable task.

Asking someone to be your living donor is an emotional and overwhelming task, but the person who can help may be closer than you realize. Always remember to keep an open mind, stay positive, and ask for help. Learn more by visiting the Living Donor Champion Toolkit.


Editor's Note: This video was originally published on , and was last reviewed on .

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For more than four decades, UPMC Transplant Services has been a leader in organ transplantation. Our clinicians have performed more than 20,000 organ transplant procedures, making UPMC one of the foremost organ transplant centers in the world. We are home to some of the world’s foremost transplant experts and take on some of the most challenging cases. Through research, we have developed new therapies that provide our patients better outcomes — so organ recipients can enjoy better health with fewer restrictions. Above all, we are committed to providing compassionate, complete care that can change – and save – our patients’ lives. Visit our website to find a provider near you.