What affects wait times?
Once your transplant evaluation is complete, and if you do not have a living donor, you’ll be put on the transplant wait list. How long you wait depends on a few things:
- If you (the recipient) are an adult or child.
- Your blood type. Certain blood types have longer wait times than others.
- Level of Sensitization. If your immune system has been sensitized due to previous blood transfusion, previous transplantation or pregnancy, it may be harder to find you a kidney match. In that case you might need to wait longer for a suitable donor.
- If you need more than 1 organ transplant (e.g. you need both a pancreas and a kidney).
- Your listing date. This is your dialysis start date, not the date you joined the transplant wait list. People who have been waiting the longest are usually considered first within their blood group and priority group.
- When and if a donor kidney becomes available.
How long is the wait list?
There are many more people who need kidneys than there are donor kidneys available. The number of people on the waiting list keeps going up, while the number of deceased donors has stayed the same over time. At any time, about 200 people are on the transplant wait lists in each of the Calgary and Edmonton kidney transplant programs.
The wait for a kidney transplant can still be about 2 to 7 years (or longer) if you don’t have a living donor.