You have to
- be 18 – 40 years old (stay in registry until 55 years)
- be in good health condition – see the health questionnaire
- weight 50 kilograms at least
When you join registry, you give a small sample of blood (or saliva) to be tissue typed. The results of your HLA (Human Leukocyte Antigen) are added to the registry and used to match you to searching patients.
Why to join registry?
Bone marrow transplant is a life-saving treatment for people with leukaemias, anaemias and many other life-threatening diseases. For the transplant to be successful, a suitable healthy donor’s stem cells or bone marrow are necessary.
The donor has to be a close genetic match. Only about 30% of patients find a donor in their family so about 2/3 of patients depend on the registry to find an unrelated bone marrow donor or umbilical cord blood to save their life..
Even with a registry of millions, many patients cannot find a match. Donors with diverse racial or ethnic backgrounds are especially needed.
When you join the registry, you make a commitment to:
- Be listed on the registry until your 56th birthday, unless you ask to be removed or unless your health condition allows you to stay registered
- Consider donating to any searching patient who matches you in all over the world
- Keep us updated if your address changes, you have significant health changes or you change your mind about being a donor.
- Respond quickly if you are contacted as a potential match for a patient
You have the right to change your mind about being a donor at any time. Donating is always voluntary. If you decide you do not want to donate, let us know right away. That way we can continue the search for another donor without dangerous delays for the patient.
The probability of being found a suitable match is variable and unpredictable because of the diversity of HLA system in the population. Every person who joins the registry gives patients hope, and new patient searches begin every day. You may never be identified as a match for someone, or you might be one of a number of potential matches. But you may also be the only one on the register who can save a particular patient's life.
What happens after registration?
After your HLA type is entered in database it is matched with all patients for whom our registry is requested to search donor. If a preliminary search identifies you as a potential match for particular patient, you may be asked to come to the registry for verification typing. In that time new blood sample is drawn to confirm you are sufficient match with patient and your current health condition is checked together with infectious disease markers tests.
If you are confirmed as suitable match at the verification typing stage, Transplant centre can choose you for actual stem cell or bone marrow donation.
What is the donation process like?
Adult donors may be asked to donate in one of two ways:
Bone marrow donation is a surgical procedure in which liquid marrow is withdrawn from the back of the donor's pelvic bones using special, hollow needles. General anesthesia is usually used for this procedure, so donors feel no needle injections and no pain during marrow donation. Most donors feel some pain in their lower back for a few days afterwards.
Peripheral blood cell (PBSC) donation involves removing donor's blood through a sterile needle in one arm. The blood is passed through a machine that separates out the cells used in transplants. Then your blood is returned through the other arm.