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Living Organ Donation: The Gift of Life
General Wellness

Living Organ Donation: The Gift of Life

By Your Health Staff
Posted: April 21, 2022

Nationally recognized for its success in kidney, liver, kidney-pancreas and pancreas transplantation, the James D. Eason Transplant Institute has been a leader in the field of transplantation for over 40 years.

There are approximately 100,000 people waiting for a new kidney on the national transplant waiting list. In 2018, only 21,167 individuals received a kidney transplant. Due to the long wait list and the benefits of a living donor kidney, more individuals are seeking a living donor. The living donor can be related to the recipient by blood, or an unrelated healthy person.

Why Living Donation?

The advantages of a living donor transplant include:

  • Recipients may be transplanted before having to start dialysis
  • Shorter wait time
  • Living donor kidneys last longer
  • Recipients can live longer with a living donor kidney than on dialysis

Who Can Donate?

  • Healthy individuals between the ages of 18-60
  • An individual whose blood type is compatible with the recipient’s
  • A live donor must have a normal weight to promote healthy healing after surgery
  • Immediate and extended family, friends, church members, co-workers

The Evaluation Process

A potential donor will meet with a surgeon and a transplant hepatologist. The donor will also meet with our qualified multidisciplinary team including a nurse coordinator, social worker, financial case manager and an independent living donor advocate. 

A thorough medical evaluation will be completed with diagnostic testing. The donor may also be required to have a colonoscopy, pap smear and mammogram depending on age and gender. Our multidisciplinary team will review all test results to determine donor eligibility. If approved, a surgery date can be scheduled for transplantation.


During evaluation, we carefully screen for blood and tissue type compatibility. Compatible blood types are: 

Donor              Recipient

Type O             Type O, A, B, AB

Type A             Type A, AB

Type B             Type B, AB

Type AB           Type AB

The Living Donor

The donor undergoes operation first for the removal of a predetermined kidney or piece of liver. The organ will be removed through several small laparoscopic incisions. Very rarely is the surgery done with a larger abdominal incision.  In a separate operating room, the donor organ is placed into the recipient through an incision in a lower part of the abdomen. The donor and recipient go to the recovery room and are then transferred to the transplant floor. The donor’s length of stay in the hospital is usually 2-3 days; whereas, the recipient’s length of stay is typically 3-4 days.

What to Expect After Surgery

The donor and the recipient can expect to return to work 4-8 weeks after surgery, with a driving and lifting restriction to maximize incision healing and recovery.

Follow-up visits and lab work are needed following surgery. The donor typically has no medications post operatively but is expected to continue with a healthy lifestyle. The recipient follow-up will include lifelong immunosuppression medication, regular visits with the surgeon or nephrologist and a primary care physician. This is to ensure functioning of the newly transplanted kidney.


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About the James D. Eason Transplant Institute

The James D. Eason Transplant Institute at Methodist University Hospital is a leader in the field of organ transplantation. Our highly-skilled team performs liver, kidney and pancreas transplantation. We also offer live donor liver and kidney transplantation as a treatment option. We are proud of our dedication to quality and our exceptional outcomes. You can find our most recent outcomes at through the Scientific Registry for Transplant Recipients.

Partnering with the University of Tennessee, our team of specialized physicians strives to improve the quality of life and life expectancy for our transplant patients. We are committed to research in the field of organ transplantation. We strive for excellence in surgical techniques and meticulous post-operative care. 

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