The Kidney Transplant Waiting List
The United Network of Organ Sharing, (UNOS) is the organization that manages the kidney transplant waiting list. www.unos.org
Currently, there are over 93,000 people on the kidney transplant waiting list. The wait for a deceased donor could be 5 years, and in some states, it is closer to 10 years. Patients are prioritized by how long they’ve been on the waiting list, their blood type, immune system activity and other factors. 80% of the people on the waiting list are on kidney dialysis. The longer a person is on dialysis and has to wait for a transplant, the short and long term success rates are negatively affected. On average, receiving a kidney transplant can double someone’s life expectancy.
Unless there are significant changes in the number of kidney transplants performed each year, there will soon be over 100,000 people waiting for a kidney transplant and the wait for some will exceed 10 years.
Over 80% respond yes when asked if they would be an organ and tissue donor. However, only 30 to 40 percent of Americans actually do designate themselves as donors on their driver's licenses or on state donor registries. For those who don’t designate themselves as a donor, the decision to donate rests with their families who can just as easily deny rather than permit the hospital's request to have their loved one’s organs donated.