Going on the transplant waiting list

Find out how to join the kidney transplant waiting list

Key points

  • You will need to go on the national transplant waiting list to receive an organ from a deceased donor
  • This is a list of all the people in the UK who are waiting for an organ from a deceased donor.
  • The transplant list is not a queuing system, it matches donated organs to the patients based on many different factors
  • Offers can come through at any time, so make sure your mobile phone is always on

What is the transplant waiting list?

This is a list of all the people in the UK who are waiting for an organ from a deceased donor. It covers all organ transplants, including heart, lung, kidney, liver, pancreas and small bowel. To receive a kidney from a deceased donor, you need to join the list.

How long it the wait for a kidney?

How does the waiting list work?

The transplant waiting list is not queuing system, where the first person in the queue is offered the next available organ. It is more of a matching system. Many factors are used to decide which patient is most suitable to be offered a donated organ.

Learn more about the organ offering system

To be accepted on the transplant waiting list for a kidney

  • You need to be expected to be alive in five years time
  • Your transplant team need to agree that you are suitable for an organ transplant from a deceased donor

You transplant team will give you more information on this.

Before you join the transplant waiting list

  • You will have tests to check your health and organ function
  • The benefits and risks of a kidney transplant will be clearly explained to you
  • You may be asked to sign a consent form to say that you agree to have a deceased donor transplant. Your transplant team will explain their process to you
  • Some personal information will need to be held by the UK Transplant Registry, which is used in organ offering
  • You may need to be vaccinated before you can be ‘activated’ on the transplant waiting list. This is to help reduce the risk of infection after a transplant

View selection and allocation procedures for kidneys

While you’re on the transplant waiting list, make sure you tell your transplant team if:

What else do you need to know while you’re on the transplant waiting list?

More information

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