Living Donation Q&A

Part 5: How to Start the Living Donation Process


How would a potential living donor start the process if they want to donate to a specific person?

Contacting the transplant hospital of the person in need of the transplant is the first step. Many hospitals have a form on their website potential donors can submit to begin the process or they can call the transplant hospital and ask to speak with the living donor coordinator for the organ they wish to donate.

What if the intended living kidney donor and intended recipient are not a match?

Begin by talking to the transplant hospital where the intended recipient is listed to see if they participate in paired donation. The OPTN Kidney Paired Donation Program facilitates paired donation between transplant hospitals.

What if the intended living liver donor and intended recipient are not a match?

Living liver donors are carefully evaluated to ensure that they are the best medical match for the intended recipient. If the donor is not a match, he or she may be asked by the transplant hospital to become a donor for someone else on the waiting list. Many transplant hospitals offer resources to help patients on the waiting list find a suitable living donor.

What is the first step for a potential living donor who does not have a specific recipient in mind?

Please refer to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) member list of all U.S. transplant hospitals. You may also want to consider being part of a living kidney donor paired exchange or chain. (see above)

What if I am a patient in need of a transplant?

If you are not already on the national transplant waiting list, that would be the first step. Please see the list of transplant hospitals. Once you are on the national transplant waiting list, if your transplant team determines that living donation is an option for you, they can provide resources for identifying potential living donors.

What else can be donated while you are alive?

Although most people are familiar with blood and bone marrow donation, the field of living donation is ever evolving. Currently other things that can be donated include uterus, birth tissue and cord blood.

Is there anything that can be donated after childbirth?

Birth tissue and cord blood can be donated after childbirth and require a specific authorization.