Living Donation Q&A

Part 4: Other Living Donor Considerations


How risky is living donor surgery?

The surgery to donate a kidney is generally safe, with a 3 in 10,000 risk of death. The risks for living liver donation surgery are slightly higher, dependent on the amount of liver donated. More information about living donation risks is available on the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) website, As with any surgery, living-liver donation can include complications such as bleeding, infection, bile duct problems, and blood clots, etc. Complications occur in about 16% of cases. Living donors are carefully evaluated prior to a living-donor liver transplant to ensure that risk is minimized. The estimated mortality is about 0.5% (5/1000), depending on which lobe (part) of the liver is donated.

Can adults over age 50 donate?

Yes, donors must be healthy and can donate primarily on a basis of health. Some transplant hospitals may have age restrictions.

Can members of the LGBTQ+ community be living donors?

There are no restrictions based on a potential donor’s LGBTQ+ identification. All potential living donors undergo a thorough medical evaluation to determine if donation is safe.

Can people living with HIV be living donors?

The HIV Organ Policy Equity Act (HOPE) Act provides donation and transplantation opportunities for people living with HIV with minimal additional testing at specific centers. Refer to the OPTN HOPE (HIV Organ Policy Equity) Act page for more information.

Are people with tattoos able to be living donors?

All potential living donors undergo a thorough medical evaluation to determine if donation is safe for both the donor and recipient.

What happens if a living donor changes their mind?

Being a living donor is completely voluntary. The donor can delay or stop the process at any time. Their reasons for choosing to not donate will remain confidential and will not be shared with the recipient or anyone else.

Do living donors ever share their experiences and what are some resources?

Yes, 97% of living donors say they would donate again and are excited to share their experiences. Donate Life WELD (We Encourage Living Donation), a program of Donate Life America, provides a forum for living donors to share their stories with members of their community. To learn more about DL/WELD, contact DL/WELD coordinator. For stories from living donors, visit