What other issues does a potential living liver donor need to consider?

A person who is considering becoming a living liver donor needs to be physically, financially, and emotionally ready to be a donor. Questions that the potential donor and transplant team will review include:

  • Are you physically able to undergo surgery and the recovery period?
  • What medical conditions do you have and will liver transplant surgery worsen any of these existing health conditions?
  • Can you be off work for two to three or more months? Can you manage this period of lost wages?
  • Can you afford to pay costs not covered by insurance, including your travel, lodging, and potentially child care costs? You may also be denied future health, life or disability insurance.

Emotional and psychological issues discussed include:

  • How will you feel if the recovery does not go as you expected?
  • How will you feel if the liver recipient’s recovery is not what you thought it would be? What anxiety might be caused if the recipient’s liver is rejected, the recipient needs another transplant, or dies?
  • Are you prepared for a certain level of pain and discomfort that occur after surgery?
  • Will the surgical scar cause body image issues?

Other issues:

  • Do you have one or more caregivers who will be able to care for you? A dedicated caregiver will need to be with you 24 hours a day for two to three weeks after discharge.
  • If YOU are a caregiver to others, who will be picking up your caregiver responsibilities?
  • You will also not be allowed to drive for three to four weeks.

It’s important for any potential donor to take as much time as needed to absorb all the information presented so you can make an independent, informed, and confident decision. Make sure you fully understand the liver donor procedure, its risks and potential complications, your own health issues and how a liver donation may affect your condition, as well as all financial and emotional/psychological issues. Know that you may change your mind to become a living liver donor at any time. If you have any questions, please ask any member of the transplant team.

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