Living Donors

Today, because of advances in surgical techniques, a healthy adult can donate a portion of their liver to a sick adult or child and give the gift of life.

When the recipient is a child, family members are usually first to volunteer and often times a match. But in cases where a family member is not suitable, anyone can be evaluated as a potential living donor — such as a family member, friend, neighbor, co-worker, or even an individual who is unknown to the patient, called an altruistic donor.

For an adult-to-child living-donor transplant, only about 25 percent of the liver is needed, depending on the size of the patient. This helps reduce the risks associated with transplant surgery.

The liver has a unique ability to regenerate and usually returns to its normal size within weeks following surgery. Donors are able to live healthy lives with the remaining segment.


To become a donor, you will need to undergo an evaluation at the Starzl Transplantation Institute to see if you are compatible. About 1 in 4 people evaluated are suitable for liver donation. Potential donors must be:

  • Between the ages of 18 and 55
  • In good general health with no history of:
    • Liver disease, including cirrhosis and hepatitis B or C
    • Heart disease
    • Cancers or other diseases that could complicate the surgery
    • HIV
    • Diabetes

Become a Living Donor

Liver surgery and follow up care for adult donors is performed at the Starzl Transplant Institute by UPMC's Liver Transplant Team. If you’re interested in becoming a living donor for a child on the liver transplant wait list, please contact the UPMC Liver Transplant Program today.

If you’re interested in saving a child on the liver transplant wait list, please register to be a living donor today.