Living Donor

Eighteen people die every day waiting for a lifesaving transplant, and every 10 minutes, another name is added to the transplant waiting list. A single living donor can potentially save the life of several people by this generous act. Dr. A. Osama Gaber, the director of transplantation at Houston Methodist J.C. Walter Jr. Transplant Center, explains how special organ donation is. “Living donation is the ultimate gift of life — literally giving a piece of yourself in order to save another person’s life and prolong your time with that person… It is remarkable.”

Living donors account for about half of all donations in the United States.

A living donor is an individual who selflessly donates organs or tissues while he or she is alive in order to extend or improve another person’s life. 
  • Living donors can contribute a kidney or a lobe from a lung or a portion of the liver, pancreas, intestine or small bowel.
  • Tissue from a living donor may include skin, bone, heart valves, whole eyes and corneas, bone marrow and blood vessels, stem cells and umbilical-cord blood.

At Houston Methodist J.C. Walter Jr. Transplant Center, our experience and active clinical research in practicing and creating ever more innovative organ transplant procedures is extensive; a donor swap is one way we practice leading medicine in the field of transplantation. A donor swap occurs when a potential donor and patient do not match; the transplant team then arranges a series of donor/recipient exchanges until each patient has a match. We are an active participant in the national donor swap program and have the longest-running donor swap program in Houston. Our surgeons performed the first donor swap in 2008. In 2010, we executed a 3-way swap across three different states, followed by an 11-pair swap. In 2011, we participated in an astounding 30-pair swap. Because of the complexity involved, few hospitals in the nation attempt donor swap transplants, but our transplant center is committed to expanding and promoting the practice.

If you would like to understand more about living donation or sign up to be a donor, please visit the Living Donor Portal, our frequently asked questions page for transplants, Donate Life Texas or LifeGift Organ Donation Center. You can also learn more about living and paired donation and the transplantation process by downloading our brochures.

Learn more about what to expect before and after donating an organ.

Patient Stories
Perhaps the best way to learn about our highly trained transplant specialists at Houston Methodist is through our patients. We invite you to read this inspiring patient story and learn about the experience of being a transplant patient at Houston Methodist.

Marcy Shipp saved three lives by donating a kidney through the Houston Methodist donor swap program.


Our physicians specialize in living donor transplants at the following locations.