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What are the Requirements for Being a Liver Transplant Donor?

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  • Written By: A. Pasbjerg
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 20 May 2020
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In order to be a liver transplant donor, a person must meet certain criteria. Above all, he or she must be in good physical health. The donor's blood type must be one that is compatible with the blood type of the intended recipient. One must understand the implications of the procedure and want to give a portion of his or her liver freely. The size of the donor's liver is also important; it must be similar to or somewhat larger than the recipient's liver.

One of the main requirements that needs to be met is for the liver transplant donor to be physically healthy. He or she must be in good shape to safely undergo surgery and have a portion of his or her liver removed, and be between the ages of 18 and 60. People with certain diseases may be precluded from liver donation; some examples of conditions that could stop a person from donating include diabetes, hepatitis, and AIDS. Those who are or have been heavy users of drugs or alcohol typically will not qualify either. Donors are usually required to have a variety of tests to ensure they are suitable candidates, including a complete physical, an EKG, and antibody screening.

Blood type is another important factor for qualifying as a liver transplant donor. In order for the recipient to be able to use the liver, the donor's blood type has to be compatible with his or her type. This does not necessarily mean their blood types have to be the same, just that they need to be types that will work together. The donor will generally be required to give a blood sample to confirm this.

Psychological factors are also taken into consideration when a person wants to be a liver transplant donor. Donors must be giving a portion of their livers of their own free will; they should not feel pressured to do so. They also should not be doing so for any type of financial gain. Often donors will undergo psychological screening to ensure they are donating for the right reasons and that they are of sound mind to do so.

Another requirement a liver transplant donor must meet is having a liver of the appropriate size to match the recipient. Typically the donor's liver must be the same or slightly larger than the one being replaced. There may also be special considerations if the blood vessels and bile ducts in the donor's liver vary significantly from the recipient's.

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