Receiving a liver

Find out what you need to know about donation issues and liver transplantation

Key points

  • Most livers are donated by deceased donors
  • A small number of livers are donated by living donors
  • There are more people waiting for liver transplants than there are donors
  • All donated organs carry some risk, but this is generally lower than the risk of your liver disease

Types of liver donor

Deceased donors

The majority of livers that are suitable for transplantation in the UK come from donors that have died (deceased donors). Approximately three quarters (75 in 100) of deceased donors are from donors who have been declared dead through brain testing. The remaining quarter (25 in 100) are from donors whose hearts have stopped beating.

Learn more about deceased liver donation

Living donors

The anatomy of the liver means that it is possible to remove part of it from a living person. The removed part can then be transplanted into a patient with end-stage liver disease. Currently, 3 in 100 liver transplants performed in the UK are from living donors and the majority of these are for children.

Learn more about living liver donation

Register to donate

In the UK, around 460 people are on the waiting list for a liver transplant.

Organ donation is when someone has agreed to give a part of their body to someone else who needs it. It’s an amazingly generous act that helps to save thousands of lives a year.

Register to donate

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