Active vs. Inactive

Your Kidney Transplant Waitlist Status

How does the waiting list work? 

Whenever someone dies and their organs are available for donation, the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) is notified. UNOS uses a computer system to find the best match for the donated organ. It doesn’t just give the organ to the person who has been waiting the longest, but considers many factors to find the best match.

Row of chairs in waiting room

What is my waitlist status?


  • Active status means that you can be called in for transplant at any time
  • It is important to keep track of your status.


  • You cannot actively receive offers for a transplant, even though you are still on the list and accumulating points
  • This may be due to current health, insurance, or social reasons
  • If you are inactive, please contact your transplant coordinator to see what you need to do to be active on the waitlist

How do i stay active?

1. Keep your Transplant Center Updated

It’s important to tell your transplant coordinator if anything changes in your life, such as:

  • Phone number
  • Address
  • Insurance
  • Marital status
  • Changes in your health, such as being hospitalized, quitting smoking, or losing weight
Human kidneys drawing and healthy fresh food on the table
2. Make Sure that the Transplant Center can Contact You or your Family Members
  • Make sure the transplant center knows how to reach you by giving them your phone numbers and email addresses. They might need to call you for lab work, appointments, or even a transplant!
  • If you miss their call, call them back as soon as you can
3. Take Care of Yourself!
  • Every month, you need to go to your transplant center or dialysis center to get your labs done. It’s important to take care of yourself by not missing any dialysis treatments, taking your medicines the way your doctor tells you to, keeping a healthy weight, and eating foods that are good for your kidneys

How long will i have to wait?

When you are on the transplant waiting list, it may take a short or a long time to get an organ. At most centers, the average wait is 3-5 years.

Happy doctor handshaking with her senior patient in waiting room at the clinic.

How long you have to wait for a kidney transplant depends on many things such as:
  • If the kidney matches your body well
  • What blood type you have and if you have a lot of antibodies
  • If there are many donors in your area
  • How long you’ve been on dialysis
  • How old you are
  • If you’ve had an organ transplant before