Nationally, there are more than 112,000 people waiting for much-needed organs. United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) manages the list of those individuals across the country, ensuring that the available gifts go to those who are best matched.
This system developed out of the National Organ Transplant Act in 1984, which established the Organ Procurement and Transplant Network (OPTN), a national organ sharing system to guarantee the fairness in the allocation of organs for transplant.
In the transplant centers, patients are evaluated by transplant physicians to determine if and when they should be placed on the waiting list. The rules that dictate the waiting list vary by organ. General criteria guide the allocation of organs and may include:
Factors such as a patient's income, celebrity status, and race or ethnic background play no role in determining allocation of organs.