Donating a liver lobe to a child

Child holding a medal

The average waiting time for a liver transplant (from a deceased donor) for children is 74 days (2.5 months) but for some children the wait can be between 12 to 18 months.

Where a child is involved, living donors are normally a close relative, with parents being the most usual donors. Grandparents or siblings may be considered depending upon their age. Aunts, uncles and other family members or close friends may also be able to donate.

Will you be operated on in the same hospital as your child?

This depends upon where your surgery takes place. Some hospitals look after both adults and children whilst others are exclusively for children.

Wherever you are, there will be a team of people caring for each of you. The donor assessment and operation will always be performed in an adult transplant centre. This will be nearby if you and your child are cared for in separate hospitals.

Who will care for your child whilst you are in hospital?

You will need to plan for the care of your child whilst you are in hospital well in advance and your transplant team can help you to do this.

In some families the non-donating parent stays with the child but a grandparent, aunt, uncle, or close family friend may be nominated instead. Whoever it is, it needs to be someone both you and your child feel comfortable with and who understands what is involved in being with your child in hospital. You can speak to your child’s doctor or nurse about this and they will be able to give you more information to help you decide.

It is important to make childcare arrangements for any other children you may have and for some help at home immediately after you leave hospital. There are people who may be able to help you with this and any other practical concerns you may have.

If you are donating, how long will it take you to recover?

Recovery can take up to twelve weeks, depending upon the donor operation and your individual progress. You will need to rest following discharge from hospital and will need to plan in advance for others to help caring for your child and with day-to-day heavy domestic tasks

Become a living liver donor

More information

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