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Alcohol support

Should I donate part of my liver to my sister?

260 replies

Sienna7657 · 04/05/2021 10:58

Hi all,
My sister has been a heavy drinker for many years. It's got to the point that she has malnutrition and her liver has failed. She cannot walk anymore because she is that weak.
She is in need of a liver transplant. I know that in the uk, it can take many months before a donor is available. I'm the same blood group as her and I have a healthy bmi.
I am considering to give her part of my liver instead. However there are a few things I need to consider.
I am a single mum to 2 young children under 2. Recovery after a transplant can take upto 3 months and I dont think I can find anyone else to help me take care of the kids.
I would have to take unpaid leave off work. This would mean that my family will struggle financially and I really dont want to be asking my family for money.
What would you do if you were me?

OP posts:

HollowTalk · 04/05/2021 12:32

She's in ICU, @lotusmonster.


ViciousJackdaw · 04/05/2021 12:32


No! Please don't do this to yourself for someone who doesn't deserve it.

Perhaps this is a bit rich coming from me but that's one fuck of a nasty thing to say.

5zeds · 04/05/2021 12:33

I’d talk to HR about it. If one of my employees was in this situation we would keep her on full pay while she recovered. Let people help. They will if they can.Brew


Iampicklerick · 04/05/2021 12:33

Your health is the one thing you exclusively own and have responsibility for. It is yours. It is the very thing that keeps you alive. Your sisters own health choices were hers to make, sadly it’s not worked out for her. That’s on her, not you.

You haven’t made those bad choices. Your children may suffer because of her choices. There is no way I would prioritise someone who squandered their own liver, over more lifetime spent with my own precious children.


WeeGobshiteBentBastard · 04/05/2021 12:34

Sorry OP, I would not do this. Your first responsibility is to your children and as a single parent you really do not want to jeopardise your health or your financial situation. You are clearly a very kind and supportive sister.


Devlesko · 04/05/2021 12:34

I'd say no, too.
I have seen alcoholics receive all manner of treatments, but they continue to drink themselves to death.
Sounds awful to say but it would more than likely be a waste.


4PawsGood · 04/05/2021 12:35

You need to find out if she is a candidate for a transplant. It sounds like she is too ill.

Google says
Siblings have a 25% chance of being an "exact match" for a living donor and a 50% chance of being a "half-match."

I don’t know if they need a full or half match though.


Viviennemary · 04/05/2021 12:38

No don't. Your children need you.


EveningOverRooftops · 04/05/2021 12:39

My sister is an alcoholic.

No I would not do this.


RedFrogsRule · 04/05/2021 12:40

I’m sad to see all of the damning comments about people who have an illness. Yes it is a mental illness they need to tackle but some really unpleasant remarks here. If it were anorexia or suicide you were discussing would you be so vile?

OP I have faced this dilemma. I offered my liver. I was hugely glad to be turned down. The recipient wasn’t fit enough for a live donor and needed a cadaver liver. They are still waiting and I fear for them.

Talk to your sister - you need to explain your concerns and your needs. Ask for money to support your family. The bottom line is you may not be suitable and by investigating this you may have your mind out at ease. Even if considered suitable you are not committed. It’s perfectly acceptable to explore the idea with family and medical team without committing. You may well not be a match anyway.


Alternista · 04/05/2021 12:41

I think you’re tying yourself up in knots over something that might not even be a possibility.

If you think you might regret it if you don’t, then contact the ICU she’s on, explain the situation and ask if someone from the transplant team could call you confidentially. Find out if this is even possible, IF you want to.

However- it’s also entirely fine not to want to. To say no. Your body is your own and your sister has made the choices that got her to this place. It’s ok to step away and decide not to pursue this x


TurquoiseDragon · 04/05/2021 12:41


Sorry if I sound stupid but if I'm the same blood type as her and genetically related- does that mean that there is a chance that I'm not a match for her?

Blood type is not enough. There will be further checks for matching.

I was once a potential bone marrow donor, as my blood type initially matched, but further matching ruled me out.

And you should talk to the transplant team, so that you have full innformation before proceeding.

It's actually more of a risk to the donor than the recipient, and for some transplants, the risks to a donor range up to (and include) death, even if it's a tiny, tiny risk. Being very healthy will not change the fact that those risks are there.

I know a couple of people who have done live donation, and the recovery times given out can be optimistic. A friend donated a kidney to a stranger, who's husband donated a kidney to my friend's husband, in a carefully matched swap arranged by the transplant team. My friend still took around a year to recover, despite being very healthy.

And with you being a single parent, I'd say no way. Your DC need you more. If you feel pressured, then talking tto the transplant team will help, as they will refuse to accept donations from anyone they feel is being pressured or coerced, or who isn't 100% sure about donating. They will publically state you weren't a suitable match, if this is the case.

I'm sorry your sister is ill, and by the sounds of it, she may be too ill for a transplant anyway.

Lovemusic33 · 04/05/2021 12:41

It sounds like your sister maybe too poorly for a transplant anyway?

I’m unsure what I would do but I do think you need to put your children first, there are risks to surgery and you wouldn’t want your dc to be without a parent or with a parent that’s very unwell for a long period of time?


Ihopeyourcakeisshit · 04/05/2021 12:41

Has a transplant been recommended by the doctors?


vivariumvivariumsvivaria · 04/05/2021 12:44

Why don't you call the transplant team for advice?

I'm sorry, but, I suspect the PP are right, if there has not ben a discussion about transplant it may be because the surgery is not suitable for your sister.

Transplant counselling is in-depth and lots of people don't go ahead with the operation, even for their own sister. It is lovely that you would even consider it.

I'm sorry your sister is so unwell.


Reinventinganna · 04/05/2021 12:45

Have her team discussed a transplant as an option?

I’m sorry that you are going through this. I’m also sorry that you are having to read half of these replies about alcoholism, not what you need right now.


QueenAdreena · 04/05/2021 12:46

It’s a sad situation, but I wouldn’t do it. My children’s well-being and my own health as their primary carer would take priority.


UCOinanOCG · 04/05/2021 12:47

Are they actively looking for a donor? It sounds like sadly it might be too late for her to have a transplant.


speakout · 04/05/2021 12:49

Not in a million years.

My kids come first.


Couchbettato · 04/05/2021 12:49

What are your sisters chances of survival or recovery from such a huge surgery if you did say yes?

You don't want to take away from your life unless there's a very good chance it will provide a good chance for your sister.


EmbarrassingAdmissions · 04/05/2021 12:52

Seconding anyone who says that you need a good shared-decision making discussion with clinicians for yourself and to understand the likelihood of survival for your sister, given the clinical details that you've shared.


DeepThinkingGirl · 04/05/2021 12:52

On the basis that she will pay your health insurance and life insurance for as long as she lives, and fund any complications resulting from your surgery or having any life impact because of it.

She does need to contribute to the consequence of her life choices. You can help her stay alive but you can’t take the burden of her choices completely


colouringindoors · 04/05/2021 12:56

OP if you decide to do this, this donation and surgery and recovery, you are doing a massive thing probably saving your sister's life and so imo your family should absolutely be offering - if not insisting - to support you financially and emotionally if you go ahead! It shouldn't be a question of asking them, and you shouldn't feel bad that you would need help caring for your children after such an operation! They're your family!


TooExtraImmatureCheddar · 04/05/2021 12:57

If you start to discuss it with the transplant team, no one there will blame you at all if you choose not to do it in the end. Talk to them first. For all we know, they may say it's not possible given her current condition. But ask the question so that it's not hanging over you with the what-ifs in future.


MarkRuffaloCrumble · 04/05/2021 12:58


My parents are around. My parents and my sister do have enough funds to support my family whilst I take time off work. But I would feel extremely uncomfortable asking them for money so that I can take care of my kids- when the kids are my responsibility.
My parents are also quite old so they are not able to take care of the kids alone- they always need me to take care of the kids when I visit anyway. So I know whilst I'm recovering- I have noone to help me take care of the kids.

If you’re considering sacrificing part of your own body and your income to help your sister, too absolutely DO need your family to support you in turn.

If they’re not physically able to look after your children they’d need to pay for childcare and/or a nanny and financial support eg a cleaner and enough money to live on while you recover. Otherwise you’d be mad to consider it. It’s not mercenary to need financial help in this situation.
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