What Is the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS)?

United Network for Organ Sharing

The United Network for Organ Sharing is a private (non-government), nonprofit organization. Every transplant hospital, organ procurement organization (OPO) and histocompatibility lab in the U.S. is a member of UNOS. The connection between the organ donor and the recipients is UNOS.

The United Network for Organ Sharing is for:

  • Patients waiting for transplants
  • Transplant recipients
  • Nurses, surgeons, physicians and technicians who specialize in donation and transplantation (Every transplant hospital in the U.S. is a member of UNOS)
  • Friends and families of transplant patients and recipients
  • Organ donors and their families and friends
  • Healthcare volunteers
  • Members of the general public who support donation and transplantation

What Does UNOS Do for Patients?

  • Maintains the national organ transplant waiting list
  • Coordinates the matching and distribution of donated organs
  • Collects data on transplant recipients and organ donors
  • Increases public awareness of the need for organ donors for pediatric patients
  • Uses statistics and research to advance the science of transplantation
  • Brings the transplant community together to develop policies for sharing organs
  • Develops standards that transplant surgeons and physicians must meet to be members of UNOS
  • Educates medical professionals about donation and transplantation
  • Provides patient education materials

What Has UNOS Done for Patients?

Since 1986, UNOS has matched organs for nearly 200,000 patients.

National transplant systems around the world, including the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Japan, South America, Mexico and Canada were modeled after UNOS.

How is the History of UNOS?

UNOS was developed in two ways.

Years ago, transplant hospitals discovered that if they shared organs they would make better use of the limited number of donors. This was an informal system that helped more people get transplants.

In 1984, the government decided that:

  • The U.S. needed a national system to share organs. This included matching donors and recipients and making rules for distributing organs. This became the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN).
  • The U.S. needed a system to collect and store data on transplants. This became the national Scientific Registry.
  • This needed to be done by a private (non-government) organization.

In 1984, Congress passed the National Organ Transplantation Act (NOTA) making these things possible.

How is UNOS Funded?

About 15 percent of funding comes from the federal government to run the OPTN and the national Scientific Registry.

The remainder comes from the UNOS operating budget, membership fees, charitable contributions and project grants from foundations and corporations.

Where is the UNOS Headquarters?

UNOS is located in Richmond, Virginia.

How Can I Contact UNOS?


Visit the Contact section on the UNOS website.


Call 888-TX INFO-1 for information about transplantation.
Call 800-355-SHARE for organ and tissue donation information.


1100 Boulders Parkway, Suite 500
P.O. Box 13770
Richmond, VA 23225-8770

Learn more about the UNOS waiting list.