Can You Become a Liver Donor?

Our goal at Henry Ford is to make your selfless act of organ donation as trouble-free and safe as possible. We want to return you to your active life quickly. Our donor advocates and donor coordinators help you navigate the donation process.

Requirements for liver donation

To donate a portion of your liver to someone you know, you should be:

  • Between the ages of 18 and 55
  • A friend or family member, such as a spouse, parent, sibling, child, nephew or niece
  • Approximately the same body size or larger than the recipient
  • The same or compatible blood type as the recipient
  • In excellent medical and psychological health

Exclusions for liver donation

Certain conditions prevent you from making a liver donation:

  • Previous liver surgery
  • HIV
  • Viral hepatitis
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Lung disease
  • Diabetes
  • Active alcoholism

Medical tests for liver donation

You must complete a series of medical tests before you can become a liver donor. These tests include:

  • Physical examination, including review of past medical history
  • Mental health assessment
  • Blood and tissue typing
  • Blood screens for transmittable viruses, such as hepatitis and HIV
  • Blood tests to check liver, kidney and thyroid function
  • Heart tests, such as an electrocardiogram (EKG)
  • Imaging, including chest X-rays, possible abdominal angiogram to assess blood flow to your liver, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) to assess the size of your liver
  • Possible liver biopsy

Risks of liver donation

All of our living donors lead active lives, with a 100 percent survival rate at Henry Ford. Nationally, donor death is exceedingly rare, at 5 in 1,000.

Other risks of liver donation include:

  • Bile leak or infection
  • Wound site infection
  • Pain at the incision
  • Bleeding that requires blood transfusions
Take the next step

Speak with a Transplant Institute specialist.