Your liver is the largest organ in your body. It is a vital part of your digestive system, helping the body to get rid of toxins and regulate blood sugar levels. Because the liver supports almost every other organ in your body, even 24 hours without a fully working liver can be life-threatening.
Donating your liver is usually something that happens after you die, but it is also possible to give the gift of living liver donation. If you are fit and well, it may be considered possible to remove part (a lobe) of your liver for transplantation to someone else.
We need more liver donations to match the number of people on our transplant waiting list. Why not register as an organ donor today? The register is a permanent record of your wish to be a donor and can be updated at any time.
Can I be a liver donor?
You can choose to become a liver donor when you join the NHS Organ Donor Register. Donating your liver when you die could provide the much-needed matching organ for someone hoping for a second chance.
Regardless of your own health, we encourage everyone to be a liver donor for the following reasons:
- Your liver’s health will be assessed before any liver transplant takes place
- All the major religious faiths support liver donation
- There are very few health-related restrictions and most people can donate.
Why do people need a liver donation?
Living with liver failure can mean being unable to do many of the day-to-day things that healthy people take for granted. Unlike some of the other organs, there is no device that can perform the job of the liver long-term.
Because your liver works so hard to perform so many functions it can be prone to damage from disease and other problems, the most common of which are:
- some inherited liver disease
- viral infections
- autoimmune diseases
- liver cancer
- other toxins.
As the liver gets progressively damaged it will lose its functions causing liver failure, or end-stage liver disease. At this point, when the quality of life is so poor, or the patient is considered to have a shortened life-expectancy, a transplant is usually considered.
How to become a liver donor
Tell your friends and family that you wish to be a liver donor – it is very important that they understand and support your organ donation because your family’s support is needed for donation to go ahead. Dealing with the death of a loved one is a difficult time to make an important decision quickly.
Sign up to the NHS Organ Donor Register online. This record helps to quickly match potential donors and recipients.
Find out more about living liver donation.
Call us on 0300 123 23 23.