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Understanding living donation

Relatives, loved ones, friends and even individuals who wish to remain anonymous often serve as living donors to spare a patient a long and uncertain wait. In 2019, more than 7,300 transplants were made possible by living donors. If you are considering living donation, it is critical to gather as much information as you can from various sources.


Who can be a living donor? Living donors should be:

  • in good overall physical and mental health and

  • older than 18 years of age.

Medical conditions such as uncontrolled high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, certain infections, or an uncontrolled psychiatric condition, could prevent you from being a living donor. Since some donor health conditions could harm a transplant recipient, it is important that you share all information about your physical and mental health. You must be fully informed of the known risks involved with donating and complete a full medical and psychosocial evaluation. Your decision to donate should be completely voluntary and free of pressure or guilt.

What are the types of living donor transplants? The kidney is the most commonly transplanted organ from a living donor. One entire kidney is removed and transplanted. Living liver donation, where a segment of the donor’s liver is transplanted, occurs less often, and the donor is usually related to the recipient. Also, in rare cases, a uterus or segment of other organs can be transplanted from a living donor.

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