How does Living Donor Process work in the United States?

Living donations are treated a bit differently. While family and friends can be a donor for someone in need, you can also be an anonymous donor as well. In fact, living donors made over 6,500 transplants possible last year alone!

To be considered a living donor you must be:

  • In good physical and mental health
  • Over 18 years old


Having a health condition can cause harm to the recipient so it is important that you be completely honest about your health history. You will be subject to a full medical and psychological evaluation and be informed of all the risks that can come from organ donation.

What are the most common living donations? 

Kidneys are the most common donated organ. Other organs that can be donated can include the uterus, and portions of the liver, lung, intestine, and pancreas.

Organs can be donated in a few ways.

  • The directed donation is where the donated organ is going to a specific individual. The donor is usually a friend, relative, or good samaritan who heard about the person’s need for an organ.
  • Non-directed donation where the donor does not know the name of the recipient, only that they were medically compatible for a transplant. Oftentimes, donor and recipient never meet unless otherwise specified.
  • The paired donation is when a candidate has someone in mind to donate (typically a kidney), but they are not medically a match.  The donor can still donate their kidney to someone who is considered a match and the recipient can be matched with a better donor.