About Living-Donor Liver Transplant: For Parents and Children

Living-donor liver transplant can be a life-saving treatment option for children and has many benefits:

  • More positive, long-term outcomes.
  • Reduces wait time for transplantation.
  • A child can receive a transplant before their liver disease progresses to a severe stage.
  • Ability to lower immunosuppression.

You can also schedule your child's liver transplant at a time that works for your family and the donor. The Hillman Center for Pediatric Transplantation at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh is one of a few centers to offer this option.

Different Types of Living Donors

There are three main types of living-liver donors:

  • Related Donor - An adult family member, including a parent, brother or sister, aunt, uncle, or cousin.
  • Friends or Unrelated Donor - Someone who knows you but isn't a relative. It could be a close family friend, neighbor, in-law, or co-worker.
  • Altruistic Donor - A stranger who donates part of their liver to a child. Your donor might meet with you and your child before or after surgery, but only if you all agree.

Getting Started with Your Child's Living-Donor Liver Transplant

To start the liver transplant process at UPMC, you will need your child's doctor to refer them. If accepted, you and your child will have your own transplant coordinator who will guide you throughout your entire journey.

To learn more about living-donor liver transplant, contact the transplant team by phone at 412-692-6110 or email at livertransplant@chp.edu.

Is My Child A Candidate for Living-Donor Liver Transplant?

Not all children qualify for living-donor liver transplant, mainly those with severe liver disease. Surgery involves transplanting only part of a living donor's liver rather than a whole liver.

Your child may not qualify for a living-donor liver transplant if they have:

  • Active infections.
  • Cancer outside of the liver.

However, emerging data finds that a living-donor liver transplant can be a good option for most children. If living donation is possible, the next step is to share your story with family and friends.

Sometimes you, your spouse, or other family members can be compatible with your child, but not always. Be ready to share your child's story and talk to people about your needs.

How to Talk to Friends and Family About Living Donation

It's not always easy to ask someone to donate their liver to help your child. It may help if you shift your thinking from asking for a liver donation to sharing your story with friends and family. Sharing your child's story with others is a great way to help spread the word of your child's need for a liver transplant.

Start by sharing what you and your child are going through and that living donation may be a life-saving option.

Social media can also be a useful tool when looking to share your child's story. For some tips on how to share their story, visit our website.

Focus on Your Child's Quality of Life

UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh's focus is on the quality of life of children who receive a liver transplant. Our main goal after surgery is to give your child a better quality of life and to be a kid.

Our liver transplant team works together to support you and your child's needs, such as:

  • Physical and mental health.
  • Financial.
  • Social and educational.

Talk To Us About Living-Donor Liver Transplant for Your Child

Talk to your child's doctor to see if living-donor liver transplant is right for them.

Contact the Hillman Center for Pediatric Transplantation at UPMC Children's at 412-692-6110 or email livertransplant@chp.edu.