About the Be The Match Registry (formerly National Marrow Donor Program Registry):
- There are over 7 million people on the registry.
- Minorities are underrepresented on the registry. As much as 80% of African-Americans who need a bone marrow transplant never find a match.
- When people on the registry are called and told they are a potential match for someone needing a bone marrow transplant, more than 50% back out and do not donate.
- A simple cheek swab is needed to join the registry - they will use the sample to determine your HLA type
- Once you've joined the registry, you will be on it until your 61st birthday unless you remove yourself (which you can do at any time) or develop a medical condition making you ineligible for donation.
- You can't join if you have blood diseases, cancers, autoimmune diseases, immune deficiencies, or back disease such as disk herniation (don't know why on that one).
- You will get a donor card with an identification number. You will be able to update your contact information online, which is important when you're on the registry!
- There are two methods of donation, bone marrow aspiration (from iliac crest) or peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) filtration.
- PBSC filtration is performed by first giving the donor a five day course of filgastrim, then filtering the stem cells out of the blood and returning the rest of the blood to the donor.
- The method of donation is up to the physician performing the transplant, over 80% of the time PBSC is chosen.
- Studies have not shown a clear benefit over one method or the other to either donor or recipient.
- If you are a preliminary match for someone, you will be contacted and asked if you are still willing to go through the process.
- It largely depends on your HLA type. Most people are never asked to donate though.