How do I get on the waiting list for a transplant?

For most people who need a transplant, the first step in receiving a transplant is to get on the national transplant waiting list for a transplant from a deceased donor. The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) Organ Center maintains this list. All transplant candidates who do not have the option of a living donor (and even some who do) usually wait for some length of time because there are not enough donor organs for all who need them.

Here are the necessary steps to get on the national waiting list:

Your physician must give you a referral.

Contact a transplant hospital. The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) has a list of all the transplant centers in the U.S. on its website.

Learn as much as possible about the 200-plus transplant hospitals in the United States and choose one based on your needs, including insurance, location, finances and support group availability.

Schedule an appointment for an evaluation and find out if you are a good candidate for transplant.

During the evaluation, ask questions to learn as much as possible about that hospital and its transplant team.

If the hospital's transplant team (transplant coordinator, surgeon, transplant physician, social worker, financial coordinator, insurance case manager and dietitian) determines that you are a good transplant candidate, you will be added to the national waiting list.

Please note that UNOS will not notify you when you have been added to the list. Your transplant hospital will notify you within 10 days to inform you about your date of listing. If you have questions about your status on the list, you should ask the team at your transplant hospital.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.