Children's Living-Donor Liver Transplant

If your child is on the liver transplant waiting list, finding a living donor may help them receive a liver sooner.

At UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, we work to teach people about living donor transplant and help families find a donor. 

We've been at the forefront of children's organ transplantation for more than 40 years and are here to help you find answers, receive care, and feel supported through your child's living-donor liver transplant.

For questions about living-donor liver transplant, call 412-692-6110 or email livertransplant@chp.edu.

What is Living-Donor Liver Transplant?

During a living-donor liver transplant, surgeons remove 20% to 25% of the liver from a healthy adult. They then transplant that part of the liver into the child to replace their unhealthy one.

The reason we can do living-donor liver transplants is because of the liver's unique ability to grow back. In just a few months, a healthy adult donor's liver will return to its normal size.

UPMC is home to one of the oldest and largest liver transplant programs in the U.S. Our team provides medical, emotional, financial, social, and educational support throughout your child's journey.

This team approach to care means we're all aware of your child's unique needs.

Benefits of Living-Donor Liver Transplant

Living-donor liver transplant is a life-saving treatment for children with liver disease.

It also makes more deceased-donor livers available for people on the transplant waiting list.

Other benefits of living-liver donation include:

  • Reduced wait for your child's liver transplant. Less time on the waiting list lowers the risk of your child's liver disease getting worse.
  • Flexible scheduling, allowing the transplant to happen sooner. It also means you and your child's donor can schedule surgery when it works for everyone.
  • Improved long-term outcomes and quicker recovery times since your child is getting part of a healthy donor's liver.

For Parents: Living-Donor Liver Transplant Resources

Asking someone to be your child's living donor can be challenging and stressful at times.

UPMC's Living Donor Champion program helps you manage this process so you can focus on your child's health and well-being.

Living donor Champions:

  • Take the lead in finding a living donor as quickly as they can.
  • Share your child's story with as many people as possible to ensure they find a good match.
  • Support and encourage you through your child's journey.

Living donors can be friends, family, or even strangers who want to help a child in need.

When searching for a living-liver donor, they must:

  • Be in good health, both physical and mental.
  • Have no history of illnesses affecting any major organs.
  • Be between the ages of 18 and 55.

Register to become a living donor today.


Contact Us About Living-Donor Liver Transplant

Fill out the form below to learn more about living-donor liver transplant at UPMC Children's.


NOTE: The video below depicts graphic content of liver transplant surgery.

Watch transplant surgeons at UPMC Children's Hospital perform a living-donor liver transplant. George Mazariegos, MD, director of the Hillman Center for Pediatric Transplantation, narrates.

This 5-month-old infant with progressive liver failure had undergone a failed Kasai procedure for biliary atresia. The living donor was the child's maternal aunt.