Becoming A Living Donor

Choosing to become a living donor in order to help give someone else a second chance at life is admirable. However, it’s not a decision that should be taken lightly. Becoming a living donor is a choice that only the donor can make. It is normal to have second thoughts regarding the decision to donate and to experience feelings of guilt about not wanting to donate.

The Liver Transplant Team at UI Health is always available to ensure all donor questions are answered thoroughly. It is the responsibility of the transplant team to protect the privacy and rights of each potential donor. At any time in the process, it is acceptable for a donor to say “No,” regardless of the circumstance. Remember, that the only “right” decision is the one that makes the potential donor the most comfortable.

Before You Become a Living Liver Donor

There are some things you should consider before you become a living donor. The following questions are designed to help potential donors make a choice:

  • Why am I getting worked up to be a living donor? Is this a decision I made of my own free will? Am I considering this surgery because I feel pressured or influenced by others?
  • What are my expectations for this experience, and how it will affect me? 
  • Have I considered the alternative: Not donating? How does that make me feel?
  • How do my close friends and family feel about my wanting to make this donation?
  • Is my family, personal, and professional life stable to handle the stresses of surgery? If not, are there things I can do now to improve my situation?
  • How will donating affect my physical and emotional health, family life, financial situation, and current and future health and life insurance status?
  • How will I cope or deal with the reactions of family or friends when I am feeling weak and/or emotionally exhausted?
  • How prepared am I to deal with the pain and discomfort that I will have with this surgery?
  • Is there anything I can do now that will improve my recovery? Do I need to lose weight, exercise more, stop smoking, or take other self-care steps?
  • What is my financial situation, and am I prepared financially to be out of work for the time it will take for the donor work-up, surgery, and recovery process, which can take up to 8 weeks?
  • What is my backup plan in case I have to be off work longer than expected?
  • What are my expectations for the recipient? How would I feel if the recipient does not take care of the portion of liver I donated? How would that affect me?
  • How would I feel if the recipient has serious complications or does not survive the transplant surgery? How would that affect me?