Does it hurt? Is it safe?

Donating is less painful than you probably think.

  • While TV shows and movies have wildly exaggerated blood stem cell donation—especially marrow donation—as something scary, the reality is much less dramatic
  • Discomfort during recovery varies from person to person. Side effects may include back pain, fatigue, headache or bruising for a few days or weeks.

There are few risks to donating.

  • There are rarely any long-term side effects from donating either PBSC or marrow. The donor’s immune system stays strong, and their blood stem cells replenish themselves in 4 to 6 weeks.
  • Marrow and PBSC donors should expect to return to work, school and most other activities within 1 to 7 days

While no medical procedure is completely risk-free, every precaution is taken to ensure the safety and well-being of the donor.

How do you protect my DNA as a donor?

We keep your information private and confidential.

  • Maintaining your trust is essential to saving lives. That’s why your personal identifying information will not be shared with any companies or government agencies.
  • We have rules in place to protect the rights and privacy of both donors and patients
  • Information about your genetic type and the stored sample from your cheek swab are identified by a code and stored separately from your personal identifying information

How much time and money are needed to become a donor?

It’s free to save a life.

  • There is no cost to join the registry if you are between 18-40 years old
  • The donation process is absolutely free to the donor
  • Be The Match® covers travel, meals and hotel for donors and one companion
  • All medical costs for the donation procedure are covered by the patient’s medical insurance or Be The Match®

It doesn’t take long to save a life.

  • Registration is a short process that could one day match you to a patient in need of a life-saving donation
  • The entire donation process, including phone calls, physical exams, and the donation typically takes a few hours per week for several weeks, averaging a total of 20-30 hours spread out over a four-to-six-week period
  • Be The Match® works with donors to accommodate school, work and family schedules
  • Most donors have reported they were surprised at how easy and rewarding it was to help save a life—especially when they consider the patient’s experience

How Does a Blood Stem Cell Transplant Work?

If you’d like to learn the science behind blood stem cell transplants, watch this video from TedEd

How Bones Make Blood

Melody Smith

Who is Be The Match®?

Be The Match®, operated by the National Marrow Donor Program®  is a non-profit that works every day to save lives through transplant. Over the past 30 years, Be The Match® has managed the most diverse marrow registry in the world and has helped facilitate more than 100,000 blood stem cell transplants. Learn more at BeTheMatch.org®.

How do I Join the Registry?

Joining the Be The Match Registry® is quick and easy. Visit https://join.bethematch.org, answer a few simple questions about your medical history to make sure you meet health guidelines, and you’ll be sent a cheek swab kit via mail to collect a sample. Once you join the registry, it could take several months or many years before you’re matched to a patient and asked to donate. One in 2201 members will go on to donate. 

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