Who is on the Transplant Waiting List?

Sadly, there are more people waiting for organ transplants than there are organs available. The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) is the organization which oversees how donated organs are allocated. Their system for matching organs with recipients is designed to be as fair as possible with a very limited resource.

The UNOS Transplant Waiting List is “the list” often cited in media articles and is even the source of the number at the top of this website. The Wait List includes patients who are waiting for transplants all across the country and is far more complex than it may sound.

Information about patients is updated regularly by a patient’s transplant center. When a donor organ comes available, Wait List data and data about the organ are run through a sophisticated algorithm to generate a prioritized, numbered list of the patients who:

  1. Need the transplant the most, and
  2. Will benefit from it most, and
  3. Are the best match for each organ

There are many aspects that factor into the algorithm, including the matching characteristics between the donor and recipient (body size, blood type, medical considerations etc.), how sick the listed person is, the length of time the listed person has been waiting and how long the organ can go before arriving for transplantation. Wealth and celebrity status are never considered.

Neither Donate Life Texas nor the organizations that recover organs, eyes and tissues have any input into the order in which patients are listed or how organs are allocated.

Who can register?

Don’t exclude yourself!  Any one can register to be a donor!

Senior citizens and kids can register.  People who have medical conditions can register.

Even those who have had a transplant can register!  (The transplanted organ and tissue cannot be re-transplanted, but others can.)

It may be surprising to learn that there are very few medical rule-outs for donation. Even those who have had cancer, hepatitis or who can’t be blood donors may still be able to donate organs, corneas and / or tissue.  And, some conditions that might make a person ineligible for organ donation are not rule-outs for cornea and tissue donation, which are equally important.

In all donor cases, qualified physicians and medical personnel evaluate the suitability of organs and tissues at the time of death.  There is no way to know if and when a person may become a donor and what options may exist at that time.  Conditions that may rule out donation today may not in the future.

By registering, you leave the precious, lifesaving option of donation open, helping to ensure that no medically-viable organ or tissue is ever lost for lack of consent.

Amazing Fact:  In 2015, Christine Coffee of Arlington, Texas, became the a liver donor at the age of 90.  And, she’s not even the oldest organ donor in Texas!  Find out more.