Being fit and healthy

Do you know someone who is waiting for a lifesaving liver transplant? You can help them by becoming a living-liver donor.

The liver’s unique ability to regenerate, or regrow, makes it possible to donate a portion of your healthy liver to replace someone’s damaged liver. Both livers will regenerate, or regrow, within about three months.

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Learn more and register today by visiting

With more than 14,000 Americans on the liver transplant waiting list, you can give someone else a second chance at life by becoming a living donor.

To be a living-liver donor you must:

  • Be between the ages of 18 and 60.
  • Be in good mental and physical health with no history of liver disease, pulmonary hypertension, HIV, active cancers, or other significant diseases.
  • Have a body mass index (BMI) less than or equal to 32.
  • Not be engaged in active ongoing drug or substance abuse.
  • Have an unselfish desire to contribute to another person’s life.

Before becoming a living donor, you will undergo an extensive pretransplant evaluation to ensure that you are healthy enough to donate.

How to Be a Healthy Living Donor

Let’s explore three ways you can become the healthiest living-liver donor possible.

1. Be healthy and active

Being in good physical health ensures that your liver is in the best possible condition and helps to improve the outcome for both you and the recipient.

Because BMI is a factor in the evaluation process, it is important to maintain a healthy weight by exercising regularly and following a healthy diet. It’s also wise to avoid smoking and excessive drinking. The healthier you are going into surgery, the smoother the recovery.

Finally, getting enough sleep benefits your overall health. Sleeping for seven to eight hours a night helps your body recover from the day and can improve mental and physical health.

2. Take care of yourself mentally and emotionally

While you will experience the satisfaction of saving someone’s life as a living donor, the process can be emotionally challenging. Therefore, it’s very important to have a support system throughout the entire process.

Remember, it is a big decision to become a living donor, so you should discuss it with family and friends. Take the time to talk with loved ones about why you want to be a living donor and how it will affect your life and theirs. Family and friends should be willing to support your decision.

Every living donor is required to have a caregiver to help them during the recovery process. When discussing your decision with loved ones, identify a person who is willing to take on that role.

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3. Be well-informed

Before you agree to become a living donor, thoroughly research the process and prepare a list of questions for the transplant team. While living organ donation can save someone’s life, consider the personal risks associated with the procedure and be sure you are prepared to deal with them.

To learn more or to register as a living donor, visit

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

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About Transplant Services

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.