Living-donor transplantation

Mayo Clinic transplant doctors, surgeons and other transplant staff members have extensive experience with living donation. Living-donor transplantation often offers you an attractive alternative to waiting for a deceased donor organ. You may have a shorter waiting period and fewer complications with a living-donor transplant.

Mayo Clinic surgeons perform living-donor transplant surgery for liver transplant and kidney transplant.

Mayo Clinic has one of the largest living-donor kidney transplant programs in the United States. Researchers actively study outcomes after transplants to improve results. In general, living-donor kidneys will function longer than deceased donor kidneys.

Surgeons perform minimally invasive surgery to remove a living donor's kidney (laparoscopic nephrectomy) for a kidney transplant, which may involve less pain and a shorter recovery for the donor. For living liver donation, approximately half of the donor's liver is removed through an incision similar to, but smaller than, the incision used for the recipient.

Donor eligibility and information

The transplant team will evaluate you to determine if you can donate a kidney or part of your liver. Donors usually are less than 60 years old. You'll have blood tests to determine if your blood and tissue types are compatible with the organ recipient. Transplant staff will interview you, and you'll need to provide your medical history. You'll also have a thorough physical examination and psychological evaluation. Several other tests, including detailed imaging of your liver or kidneys, will be performed to ensure that you're in good health and you meet donation criteria.

Transplant staff will discuss with you and your family the benefits and risks of donating an organ and answer your questions. After you donate an organ, living-donor coordinators and other transplant staff members will offer you support and follow-up care for several months after your surgery.

In addition to donating living organs, you also may donate bone marrow for a bone marrow transplant.