Living Organ Donation

Types of Donation

Directed Living Donation

Directed Living Donation is a donation of a kidney or liver to a specific transplant candidate who may or may not have a biological connection to the donor. Biologically-related donors are blood relatives, such as parents, brothers/sisters, and adult children. Unrelated donors can include people who have a social connection with a transplant candidate, such as a spouse or significant other, friend, coworker, acquaintance or even a stranger that has heard about an individual’s need.

KatheringKatherine Franco (pictured far right) became a living donor when she gifted part of her liver to her cousin, Madison Blumenthal (pictured in the middle). Katherine wanted to make a real difference in the lives of others by becoming a social worker. An opportunity to make a difference on a personal level came when her cousin needed a liver to survive. To read more about Katherine's lifesaving liver donation for her cousin, click here.


Non-Directed Donation

These individuals can choose to donate a liver or a kidney to an anonymous candidate on the national waiting list; these are also called altuistic donors. For kidney donors, they can also enter into Kidney Paired Donation to begin a chain. Some of these donors may eventually meet the transplant recipients, but only if both parties agree.

Margery Lipenski (pictured left) was an alturistic donor who's decision helped save the life of Jerry Fox who was in need of a lifesaving kidney transplant. She noted, "It's something I've always wanted to do, but things just lined up now." Read more about Margery's story here.



Paired Exchange

This process involves two pairs of potential living kidney donors and transplant candidates who are not compatible. The two candidates “trade” donors so that each candidate receives a kidney from a compatible donor.


A pair of New York families (pictured left) will be forever intertwined after two children became kidney donors for each other's mothers. Read more about this paired exchange here



Donor Chain

Donor chains are initiated by a non-directed donor and fundamentally change the math of paired exchanges. Many non-directed donors choose to start donor chains because it is a way to help more than one person suffering from kidney failure. 

Evan (pictured bottom center surrounded by his father, donor and donor's family) needed a kidney, but his father, Paul, was not a match for his son; a man by the name of Mohammad Islam was. He donated his kidney to Evan because his wife had received a kidney from another complete stranger. Paul agreed to continue the chain by donating to the next kidney patient in need. Three months after Evan’s kidney transplant, Paul donated his kidney to Leroy Baker. Read about this incredible donor chain that saved Evan here.

Read about another inspiring donor chain that spanned 17 hospitals and 11 states as covered by The New York Times, click here