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Emotional aspects of waiting

The evaluation is over and you’re on the organ transplant waiting list. Many portrayals of the transplant process in the media are inaccurate or sensationalized. In the real world, you get sick, you wait, and hopefully, you get a transplant.

Below are a few of the steps and emotional aspects you can expect while waiting for your transplant.

Confirming Registration

Your transplant center will confirm your registration in writing and will also notify you in writing if you are removed from the waiting list for any reason. At this stage it is normal to feel various emotions from relief and hope as well as fear and regret at times.


Now the waiting begins. Waiting for a donor can be stressful since you don’t know how long that wait could be. Factors affecting how long you wait include:

  • How well you match with the donor
  • How sick you are
  • How many donors are available in your local area compared to the number of patients waiting

Understanding the process

Emotionally for peace of mind we well as comfort, often it’s helpful to understand how the transplant waitlist works. Remember, transplant is not a first-come, first-serve process. Organ allocation is based on many criteria. While you wait, there may be others who get their transplant before you. Being on the waiting list simply meant that your transplant team found you to be a good candidate for transplant and you’re being considered for organs.

Learn more about the criteria for evaluating organ transplant wait time.

Seeking Emotional Support

With the stresses and range of emotions that come with waiting for your organ transplant, it’s essential to have a support team in place to support you emotionally through this process. Learn more about the various types of support options you can seek while waiting for your organ transplant as well as throughout the organ transplant surgery process.

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