The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) is responsible for transplant organ distribution in the United States. UNOS oversees the allocation of many different types of transplants, including liver, kidney, pancreas, heart, and lung.
UNOS receives data from hospitals and medical centers throughout the country regarding adults and children who need organ transplants. The medical transplant team that currently follows you is responsible for sending the data to UNOS, and updating them as your condition changes.
Criteria have been developed to ensure that all people on the waiting list are judged fairly as to the severity of their illness and the urgency of receiving a transplant. Once UNOS receives the data from local hospitals, people waiting for a transplant are placed on a waiting list.
When a donor organ becomes available:
- A computer searches all the people on the waiting list for a kidney and sets aside those who are not good matches for the available kidney.
- A new list is made from the remaining candidates.
- The person at the top of the specialized list is considered for the transplant.
- If he/she is not a good candidate, for whatever reason, the next person is considered, and so forth.
- Some reasons that people lower on the list might be considered before a person at the top include the size of the donor organ and the geographic distance between the donor and the recipient.