Are You Eligible to Donate?
Organ donation is a big commitment for anyone to consider. This page will provide some basic information about liver donation. However, the staff at Massachusetts General Hospital are the authorities and can answer in-depth questions that are not covered here. We encourage you to reach out to them.
Learn more about the Living Donor Program
The Mass General Brigham Liver Transplant Program has an active living donor liver transplant program. Through living donor liver transplantation, a family member or friend donates a portion of their liver, allowing patients to receive a transplant sooner by shortening the waiting period compared to that of receiving an organ from a deceased donor. The donor’s healthy liver grows back to full size within a few weeks.
Donating a portion of your liver to another individual is a wonderful act of selfless generosity that can be lifesaving for the recipient. A live donor liver transplant requires complex surgery for both the donor and the recipient. In order to effectively plan for the surgery and ensure the best possible outcomes, our team evaluates living donors in a three-part process. Potential donors may choose to discontinue their evaluation at any point in the process, for any reason, with complete confidentiality. Typically, the recipient's insurance will cover the cost of the evaluation and surgery.
Living donors need a strong support system to rely on for emotional and physical needs during the entire donation process. The donation of liver must be completely voluntary. You also must understand the risks of this surgery and comply with the Mass General instructions for short- and long-term follow-up medical care. Donors are never legally obligated to go through with the procedure and may withdraw at any time for any reason.
If you are interested in taking the first steps to be Haylee's Hero, please contact the Mass General Brigham Liver Transplant Program at 877-716-8440. Be sure to state that you are calling to find out information about being a living donor for Haylee Reed.
Frequently Asked Questions
How old should a donor be?
Donors must be 21 to 55 years of age.
Must I have a compatible blood type with Haylee?
Yes. Haylee has Type O blood.
If you are unsure of your blood type, you can speak with your primary care physician to ask what type you have, you can make a blood donation through your local blood bank and request your type, or do a home test. Amazon offers a blood typing home test that we believe is accurate. Click HERE for a link to Amazon.
What are the first steps in evaluation to be a donor?
Find out your blood type and have a standard physical with your primary care physician. You can discuss your intentions with your physician at that time.
Can I donate if I smoke?
Yes, but you must quit for 6 weeks prior to donating. Smoking causes greater risk to the donor for surgical complications.
Can I donate if I am overweight or obese?
Generally, donors need to be of average height and weight with a BMI less than 30. You may still be considered a potential donor if you lose weight.
Can I be a donor if I drink alcohol?
It depends on how much alcohol you regularly drink. Mass General will require you to abstain from drinking during your evaluation. There is also a restriction on drinking during your recovery and liver regrowth period.
Can I donate if I have chronic health issues?
You must be free of significant organ disease (heart or kidney), ongoing malignancy (cancer), HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, active or chronic infections, and/or active substance abuse.
Do I have to be related to the recipient to qualify as a donor?
No, blood relation isn't necessary between the donor and recipient. Parents, children and other relatives as well as spouses and unrelated friends have donated portions of their livers. There does not appear to be a lower risk of rejection if the donor is a blood relative. The relationship of the donor also doesn't appear to affect the amount of immuno- suppressive medication the recipient needs after transplant.
Is the information shared by the donor with the transplant team confidential?
Yes. It is important that you feel completely comfortable disclosing all requested information in the evaluation process. The transplant team is concerned with the safety of the donor and the recipient. Many factors contribute to the viability of you becoming a donor, both medical and psychological. For these reasons, anything discussed in the course of the donor evaluation process is between the donor and the transplant team. Further, any information regarding the recipient that is shared with you as a donor will be considered confidential.
Should the chance for success or failure of the transplant affect my decision to donate?
You are volunteering with extraordinary generosity to donate part of your liver in an attempt to improve another person's quality of life. Before you make this gift, it is important that you understand that there is no guarantee that your sacrifice will actually improve your recipient's life.
Is there a national registry for organ donation?
Yes. Visit RegisterMe.org to add your name to a national registry that could benefit people all over the country.