Who Can Be An Eligible Liver Donor?

Who Can Be An Eligible Liver Donor?
March 23 10:16 2021 by admin Print This Article

When a person’s liver disease has reached end-stage liver failure, the only way to save his or her life is by performing a liver transplant. Transplant surgeries are major procedures, but those of the liver are among the most common and the success rate is very high. Being a liver donor, whether for a relative, a close friend, or even a stranger gives you the opportunity to save a life. Only a portion of the donor’s liver is removed for transplantation. The liver is an organ that is able to regenerate itself so the donor’s liver will grow back to its normal size and the part that was transplanted will also grow into a full liver for the recipient.

Donor Evaluation

One of the most common questions regarding liver transplants is the eligibility criteria. A liver transplant surgeon at a hospital with a Liver Transplant Center of Excellence will be able to provide detailed information on this. In general, these are the conditions that must be met:

  • The decision to donate must be purely voluntary. It is illegal to force a person to donate a liver or to buy or sell organs. Hospitals perform detailed checks to ensure that the legal requirements have been met.
  • Generally speaking, it is blood relatives who most often are donors. However, there is no restriction on a person donating a part of the liver to a stranger if the decision is an informed one taken by an adult.
  • The donor must be in the right age group which is normally between the ages of 18 to 60, although exceptions may be made if the circumstances demand. The reason for the age restriction is that donors over 60 tend to have more post-surgical complications and those under 18 are not old enough to give informed consent.
  • The donor’s blood type must be compatible. This does not mean that it must be an exact match to the recipient, but the 2 blood types must suit each other. The way this works is:
    • Those with Type O blood are universal donors and can donate to anyone. It must be noted that if the recipient is Type O, the donor liver must also be from a person with Type O blood.
    • Those with Type A blood can donate to people with both Type A and Type AB blood.
    • Those with Type B blood can donate to patients with both Type B and AB blood.
    • People with Type AB blood can donate only to those of the same blood type.
    • The Rh factor (“positive” or negative”) of the blood does not affect the eligibility.
  • The donor must be in good physical health. A full medical check-up is done before a person is accepted as a donor. Special attention is paid to the functioning of the liver, kidneys and thyroid. Besides this, there are a number of medical conditions, both existing and from which the donor may have recovered, that may rule out the possibility of donation. Being obese or taking medications that may affect the liver will mean that donation will not be allowed.
  • A smoker has a very low chance of being accepted as a donor. However, if the person has stopped smoking for at least 2 months, the case of donation may be considered.
  • Although it is not a hard and fast rule, surgeons prefer that the donor and recipient are of approximately the same size and weight.
  • The donor must be of sound mental health. The reason for this is both that a person in an unsound state of mind may not understand what he is doing and that the mental problem may affect the recovery after the donation. Many hospitals require that the donor be examined by a psychologist, psychiatrist or another qualified person. Any behavioural issues like drug addiction, social anxieties, depression and so on will affect the eligibility of the donor.

A person approved for liver donation can save the life of a patient with liver failure with minimal risk to his or her own health. Contact a liver transplant surgeon to get more information and find out if you can be a donor.


Kauvery Hospital is globally known for its multidisciplinary services at all its Centers of Excellence, and for its comprehensive, Avant-Grade technology, especially in diagnostics and remedial care in heart diseases, transplantation, vascular and neurosciences medicine. Located in the heart of Trichy (Tennur, Royal Road and Alexandria Road (Cantonment), Chennai, Hosur, Salem, Tirunelveli and Bengaluru, the hospital also renders adult and pediatric trauma care.

Chennai – 044 4000 6000 • Trichy – Cantonment – 0431 4077777 • Trichy – Heartcity – 0431 4003500 • Trichy – Tennur – 0431 4022555 • Hosur – 04344 272727 • Salem – 0427 2677777 • Tirunelveli – 0462 4006000 • Bengaluru – 080 6801 6801

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  1. K Ramanujam
    March 26, 00:48 #1 K Ramanujam

    I was looking for some info on this topic. Good info.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Niranjana
    April 19, 04:43 #2 Niranjana

    I was not aware of certain information on this topic. This article is really helpful.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Kavitha
    December 08, 12:29 #3 Kavitha

    The points about requirement of mental health evaluation for the donor first seemed irrelevant. But with the explanation we could understand its need.

    Reply to this comment

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