Every year in the United States, people with liver failure die waiting for a transplant because the need for donor organs is greater than the number of livers available for transplantation. Waiting for a donor liver from the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS) is not the only option available to liver failure patients. Because of the liver’s amazing ability to regenerate, living liver donors can give part of their healthy liver to a transplant patient and end their long wait for treatment. Living liver donations can save the lives of countless people with end-stage liver disease.

The University of Chicago Medicine has been an important pioneer in the field of liver transplantation. In 1989, our surgical team performed the first successful living donor liver transplant: a parent gave part of her liver to her daughter.

Liver Donor Evaluation and Assessment

Potential living liver donors undergo a detailed medical evaluation. If you are considering being a living liver donor, our liver team will meet with you to discuss the procedure and evaluate your health. During your assessment, you meet with members of the liver transplant team and other medical staff as you go through a series of tests and procedures to help decide on whether you are a good candidate for living liver donation.

Living Liver Donor Surgery

A living donor can help their intended recipient receive a healthy liver graft in a timely fashion. The surgery can be scheduled when the recipient is in better health — ideally, before the onset of life-threatening complications — and help him or her have the best chance for a successful transplant.

Are you Eligible to be a Living Donor?

This questionnaire is for friends, family and others who are considering being a living donor.

Take our living donor questionnaire

Frequently Asked Questions About Living Donor Liver Transplant

No. Although many people end up donating a part of their liver to someone in their family, it’s important to know that a person can choose to donate their liver to anyone, be they a friend, coworker or stranger.

In the United States, more than 13,000 people are on the waiting list to receive a liver, but approximately 1,500 patients die waiting for one each year. A living liver transplant can offer a potential recipient the chance for a transplant in a timely and intentional fashion. Surgery can also be scheduled before the onset of life-threatening complications, which may occur if the recipient is waiting for a liver from a deceased donor.

Dr. Talia Baker, liver transplant surgeon

What you should know about living liver donation

We spoke to liver transplant surgeons Talia Baker, MD, and Diego di Sabato, MD, to answer common questions about living liver donation.

Read the full article


At The Forefront Live: Organ Donation

Dr. Talia Baker, director of UChicago Medicine’s liver transplant program, Iheoma Okeke-Banks from the non-profit organization Gift of Hope and liver transplant recipient Brad Goodman discuss.
Watch Video

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