Top 10 Questions Asked About Live Liver Donation
1. Isn’t Darrel already on the transplant list?
Darrel is already on the list for a (cadaver) liver donation.
BUT he may die while waiting. The list is managed by Trillium Gift of Life, and those that are sickest are first in line to receive an organ transplant.
Although he was diagnosed 9 years ago, his condition has deteriorated in the last year, but there are so many others that are much sicker than Darrel so he is at the bottom of this list. Priority is given to those who are not well so his name could remain on the list for several years.
If Darrel can receive a live liver transplant in the next few months, there is a stronger likelihood of a better recovery, leading to a better quality of life.
2. Am I too old?… too young?… too thin?… too fat?
The basic requirements for consideration as a living liver donor are:
- you must be between the ages of 16 and 60,
- have a healthy BMI (weight to height ratio), and
- you must have no major health issues.
3. Do we need to be the exact same blood type?
Not exactly. Darrel is Blood Type A. Blood type A can only accept a liver from someone who has blood type A or O.
4. What if I am Blood Type B or AB?
If someone who was blood type AB or B and wants to help Darrel, they can apply to become a donor through the TGH Paired Exchange Program (click HERE). This link refers to live kidney donations. Toronto General Hospital has now begun a Liver Paired Donation Program as well.
In this scenario, the hospital has 2 patients who come forward, each with a donor who is not blood match to their intended recipient. For example; you are approved as a donor, but do not have the same blood type as Darrel, you could donate your liver to another patient and their donor would then donate to Darrel.
5. Can I donate a portion of my liver twice?
No, you can only be a liver donor once.
6. How do I start?
The first step to becoming a live donor is to fill out a health history form and submit it with your blood type.
The liver team reviews the health history form and if there are no issues the applicant will then proceed to the next step of the evaluation process. This requires 2-3 trips to Toronto General Hospital for testing (blood work, MRI, X-ray, CT scan, social work assessment etc.)
If there are no issues with testing, then the applicant will be approved as a donor.
Access the Health Questionnaire
See if you’re a possible donor.
7. Once I fill out my assessment – where would I get tested, if asked to proceed?
All testing for live liver donation must be done at Toronto General Hospital. If someone is coming from out of Province, TGH will try to arrange all testing be completed during one trip.
8. How many have applied to be assessed? How many will get further testing? Will others know if I submit an assessment? Will you know?
TGH has two completely separate liver teams.
One works with the donors and one works with recipients. No info is shared between these teams.
The organ recipient (Darrel) is NOT provided with any information about the donor or potential donors – including the number of people who have applied, what stage of the assessment process they are in, etc…
This is for ethical reasons and to ensure there is no conflicts or breaches of privacy.
Further, no mention of those who are considering to be assessed will be mentioned on our website, or any social channels. Any personal questions we receive about who has applied will also not be answered.
The privacy, integrity and dignity of any potential applicant must be confidential, which we hope you understand.
9. I know your wife (Barb Wiseberg) and I see that she posts quite a bit on Facebook and Instagram. If I am approved as a live liver donation, will she post about this too???
In one word, NO!!!!
TGH has strict policies and best practices in place about sharing information with the media and on social media.
By sharing our story on social media, and with the media, our goal is to reach as many individuals, in the hope that they will fill out the assessment form and potentially be a Live Liver Donor.
In Ontario, the act of organ donation is anonymous and the identity of donors and their family members is protected for the benefit of the donor and the recipient.
If the media does follow our journey to find a Live Liver Donor, a member of the UHN Public Affairs & Communications Team will work with our family.
At no time, now or in the future, will the name or identity of a Live Liver Donor be made public.
This extends to ensuring privacy around the time, date or location of the surgery – so that others will not be able to identify the donor.
Click HERE to link to the Social Media Guidelines document.
10. Additional questions and resources.
If you have any additional questions, please reach out to the Centre for Living Organ Donation:
Phone: 416-340-4800 (ext 6581)
Transplant Program | University Health Network