Pediatric Kidney Transplant Waiting List

If your child has kidney failure and needs a kidney transplant, they must get on the transplant waiting list.

The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) handles all organ transplant waiting lists in the U.S.

You may turn to living donors or kidney exchange programs hoping to find a donor faster. We'll still place your child on the UNOS waiting list in case a deceased donor's kidney is ready first.

Call the kidney transplant team at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh at 412-692-5182 to learn more.

How Does My Child Get on the Kidney Transplant Waiting List?

Our kidney transplant team must assess and approve your child for the transplant waiting list.

We'll run tests to learn if they're qualified for placement on the list. These test results will also yield a “score" that decides their place in line.

Many factors affect your child's place on the waiting list, such as:

  • How long your child has been on dialysis or the waiting list.
  • Your child's blood type.
  • How your child's immune system matches a potential donor's.
  • If your child needs more than one organ transplant.

What Should I Do Once My Child Is on the Waiting List?

Once your child is on the waiting list, do these things to make sure they stay eligible for a transplant:

  • Call us if your child's health changes.
  • Bring your child to all scheduled tests.
  • Be ready at all times to get a call that we've found a possible kidney.
  • Let us know if you live far from Pittsburgh and can't get to the hospital within 12 hours.
  • Tell us if your contact info or health insurance changes.

Your child's monthly blood test

It may surprise you to learn that we must draw your child's blood once a month for typing. Kids with kidney failure often receive blood products that can expose their immune systems to harmful foreign matter.

Inactive status on the kidney transplant waiting list

Some kids may move to “inactive" status because of:

  • Travel that takes them outside the 12-hour window for getting to UPMC Children's Hospital.
  • Missing monthly blood tests.
  • Failing to let us know about changes to contact info.

It's vital to keep in close contact with your child's transplant coordinator.

If your child becomes inactive for any reason, they won't lose the time already spent on the active waiting list.

Support During Your Child's Time on the Waiting List

There's no way to predict how long your child will wait for a transplant, and waiting can be stressful.

It's crucial for you and other caregivers to look after your own health and well-being.

To help you and your child during this stressful time, our social workers can refer you to:

  • Support groups.
  • Online resources.
  • Family counseling.

Our team is on call 24 hours a day. We're always ready for your child's transplant if we receive a matching kidney.

If your child has kidney transplant surgery, they'll need follow-up care and routine testing.

If you live far from Pittsburgh, you may want to look into long-term local housing such as:

Contact the Kidney Transplant Program at UPMC Children's

If you have questions or concerns about your child's kidney disease or transplant, call our team at 412-692-5182.