UNOS fast facts
Unite and strengthen the donation and transplant community to save lives.
A lifesaving transplant for everyone in need.
What we do
UNOS is the private, non-profit organization that serves as the nation’s organ transplant system—the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN)—under contract with the federal government.
We are a member organization that brings together hundreds of organ procurement and transplant professionals and thousands of volunteers from across the U.S. who work to make lifesaving organ transplants possible each day. We:
- Manage the national transplant waiting list, matching donors to recipients according to policies developed by the community and approved by the OPTN Board of Directors
- Maintain the database that contains all U.S. organ transplant data
- Provide 24-7 support to the transplant community, helping to place organs and providing information and logistical support
- Bring together the donation and transplant community to develop policies that make the best use of the limited supply of organs and give all patients a fair chance at receiving the organ they need
- Collaborate with the donation and transplant community in performance review and continuous improvement
- Monitor every organ match to ensure organ allocation policies are followed
- Continuously evaluate data, advances and discoveries in the field of transplantation so policies can be adapted to best serve patients waiting
- Work with the community to make the organ donation and transplant system as efficient and effective as possible
- Provide transplant professionals with educational offerings focusing on effective practices, system updates and policy changes
- Provide assistance to patients, their family members and friends
- Educate the public about the importance of organ donation
The transplant system is working: Record increases in organ donation continue
The U.S. system for organ donation and recovery is among the best in the world. As a result of innovation and continuous improvement, more patients in need of organ transplant than ever have received the gift of life.
- In 2019, for the first time, the total number of transplants performed in the U.S. reached 39,718 with organs from both deceased and living donors—this marks an 8.7% increase over 2018 and a seventh consecutive annual record
- The number of deceased donors increased by 10.7% in 2019, the ninth consecutive record year
- Organ donation from deceased donors has grown 38% since 2014
- 48 OPOs increased the total number of donors in 2019 over the previous year, and 41 OPOs set their all-time organ donation record in 2019
- Organ transplants from living donors established a new all-time record in 2019 with 7,397, far exceeding the previous record of 6,992 set in 2004
But there is more that we can and must do to serve the thousands of patients still waiting for a lifesaving organ. UNOS continuously works with the organ donation and transplant community to drive improvement and make the transplant system as efficient and effective as possible to save more lives.
More about UNOS and the OPTN
The National Organ Transplant Act (NOTA) of 1984 called for an Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) to be created and run by a private, non-profit organization under federal contract. The federal Final Rule provides a regulatory framework for the structure and operation of the OPTN. According to these legislative and regulatory frameworks, the OPTN is charged with:
- Increasing and ensuring the effectiveness, efficiency and equity of organ sharing in the national system of organ allocation
- Increasing the supply of donated organs available for transplantation
UNOS was first awarded the national OPTN contract in 1986 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. UNOS continues as the only organization ever to serve under contract as the OPTN.
Our mission is to unite and strengthen the donation and transplant community to save lives.
Facts about organ transplantation
- The national organ transplant system
- UNOS fast facts
- Organ donation again sets record in 2019
- FAQs about UNOS' role in the system
- Organ Procurement Organizations: Increasing organ donation
- Improving Organ Procurement and Oversight
- Improving access for liver allocation
- Improving access for kidney and pancreas allocation
- Executive Order on Advancing American Kidney Health
- UNOS LabsSM: Testing products, tools and methods to improve the transplant system
- 12 things UNOS is doing to get the right organ to the right patient at the right time
UNOS is a non-profit, charitable organization that serves as the nation’s Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) under contract with the federal government. The OPTN helps create and define organ allocation and distribution policies that make the best use of donated organs. This process involves continuously evaluating new advances and discoveries so policies can be adapted to best serve patients waiting for transplants. All transplant programs and organ procurement organizations throughout the country are OPTN members and are obligated to follow the policies the OPTN creates for allocating organs.
5 ways to improve the U.S. organ donation and transplant system
Based on the input of experts in our field, UNOS is proposing a five-part package of reforms to drive improvements to save even more lives.
For more information
Read more about UNOS’ mission, vision and values as well as our strategic goals here.
Learn about the ways UNOS works with the donation and transplant community to continuously improve the system and save more lives.
Visit the OPTN website for more information about national organ allocation policies.