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Getting on the Transplant Waiting List

It's important that you work with your doctor to start the process of getting on the national transplant waiting list, called United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).

UNOS serves as the national Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) under contract with the US Department of Health and Human Services.

The person who receives an available organ is determined by a number of factors, including the length of time a person has been on the waiting list, blood type (A/B/O typing), body size, and health status as determined by UNOS criteria. If you would like to learn more, contact UNOS at 1-888-894-6361 or visit their website at UNOS.org.


Criteria for Getting on the List

In order for your name to be added to the UNOS list, your transplant team will first need to do a series of medical tests such as:

  • Physical exam with routine lab tests
  • Medical history and family history
  • Organ function tests
  • Compatibility testing to make sure you and the donor are a match:
    • Blood type (A/B/O) and human leukocyte antigens (HLAs)
    • Panel reactive antibody (PRA) tests measure the presence of antibodies in blood that may react to an organ transplant
  • Virology screening to check for infections


Depending on the type of organ transplant, your health status, and medical history, more tests may be needed. Your transplant coordinator can help you understand all of the tests that may be needed before going on the waiting list.