What are your chances of donating to a patient?

Posted April 6th, 2011 by admin and filed in Donor Stories, News

Linda was the one who donated to JimOn average, 1 in every 540 members of Be The Match Registry® in the United States will go on to donate bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cells (PBSC) to a patient.

Thought the odds would be better? Please remember this: For some patients, out of 9.5 million registry members, only one is a match. Every member of the registry is important. You never know when you could be the one a patient needs.

The path to donation – by the numbers

Registry members – 9 million
When you join the Be The Match Registry, you become part of an international community of 9 million members committed to saving a life through marrow donation. About 6.3 million of those Be The Match Registry members are in the United States.

Additional testing – 1 in 40
About 1 of every 40 U.S. Be The Match Registry members will be called for additional testing. Additional testing can be used to narrow the list of several potential donors and to determine who is the best possible match for a patient.

About 8% of members who complete additional testing go on to donate. Reasons someone may not move forward include:

  • They are not the best match for the patient
  • They have health issues that make them ineligible to donate
  • They decide not to proceed, for a variety of reasons
  • The patient’s health or treatment plan changes

Best possible donor – 1 in 300
About 1 in 300 U.S. Be The Match Registry members will be selected as the best possible donor for a patient. These potential donors will have an information session with their donor center representative to learn about the donation process. If they agree to continue, they will undergo a physical exam to make sure donation is safe for them and the patient.

More than half (57%) of these potential donors will go on to donate to a patient. Reasons someone may not proceed include:

  • The patient’s health changes, requiring transplant to be delayed or canceled
  • A more closely matched donor may be found
  • The physical exam reveals health issues that make the potential donor ineligible to donate
  • The donor may decide not to proceed with donation, for a variety of reasons

Donation – 1 in 540
About 1 in 540 U.S. Be The Match Registry members go on to donate to a patient.

Your chances and your role

Because of the vast variation in tissue types, we can’t predict what an individual registry member’s chance of donating to a patient might be. If you have a relatively common tissue type, you might be one of many who could match a searching patient. If you have an uncommon tissue type, you may never match a patient, or you might be the only one out of 9 million who can save a person’s life.

Every person who joins the registry gives patients more hope of finding the match they need. The most important thing you can do as a registry member is to stay informed and committed so that if you’re selected as the best donor, you’re ready to move forward.

184 Responses to “What are your chances of donating to a patient?”

  1. Sam says:

    It would be interested to see how the likelihood of donating breaks down demographically: age, sex, race, etc.

    • mss says:

      agreed! If Be the Match can provide this information, I think a lot of people would be very interested! Also intriguing would be the age/sex/race/etc profile breakdown of the 9 million person donor pool

  2. Gina says:

    I want to know if there is a way to volunteer for additional testing. I know already that I have a rare blood type – I’m a part of the Rare Blood Donor’s organization.

    • Maureen says:

      Gina, what groups do you belong to? I also have a rare blood type and donate platelets instead of whole blood. This way I can donate every 2 weeks instead of waiting 56 days like with a whole blood donation. I can help more people more often…

      • Tom says:

        Same here.. AB+, so I give platelets instead of blood. I figure there’s a long shot I’ll ever be chosen to give marrow or stem cells, but who knows?! Anything I can do to help!

        • Katie says:

          It doesnt really matter what blood type you have, it is dependent on your HLA typing.

          • Joy says:

            exactly. and for that matter, anyone who is A, B, or O can also donate to someone who is type AB+. And people who are AB+ can only donate to other type AB’s. So in terms of donating, AB+ is actually the least useful type of blood donation. It’s the common, type O’s who are most in demand, because they are the universal donors. The AB’s are the universal recipients. Now, some countries try to make sure there is always enough O blood by saying that people can only donate to their same blood type. They do that in the Philippines, for example. But then, in the Philippines, you also have go go to a blood bank and buy a bag or two of blood to take to the hospital with you, for your operation. In the US, type O’s get called regularly, and encouraged to donate disproportionately. The AB blood is more likely to be used for research or thrown out when it hits its expiration date without being needed by a type AB recipient. So if you are AB, the most effective thing you can do is to help recruit and maybe drive your type O (or even type A or type B) friends to a donor center or blood drive.

          • katie says:

            AB+ is actually very important – not for bone marrow, but for platelet donation.

            http://arcblood.redcross.org/aphabdonors.htm

          • Carol says:

            Blood type doesn’t matter. My sister had a successful BMT and her blood type changed because the donor’s was different. She went from a B+ to A+. My HLA was exactly the opposite of hers, according to her doctor. They couldn’t have been more different. Funny how that worked.

            BTW, I’m also AB+. I’ve gotten called by the blood bank for emergencies. I think there’s a AB+ hemophiliac in my area.

        • Richard says:

          I have a friend who has had a successful bone marrow transplant. The thing that amazed me the most was that his donor was a different blood type and so now his blood type has changed to that of the donor. Another interesting thing about it was that the donor was of the opposite sex – female.

          • Pita says:

            Wow! Thanks for posting this info, Richard! It’s astounding. I’ve been registered as a donor for more than 20 years and have never been a match. I’m nearing the end of the possibility of being a match. So, thanks everyone who is registered and willing to help someone have another chance to live a healthy life!

          • Lisa says:

            This is very interesting. My dad has Myelodysplastic Syndrome and may need a bone marrow transplant in the future. I have been on this Registry for years and thought that since my dad and I have different blood types (O+/A+), I had no potential to be his match … but, after reading this, there is a chance I could still be his match, should he come to the point where he needs it. Good to know. Thanks! :<)

          • Cheryl says:

            Lisa, your comments made me think of my dad who also had MDS. Unfortunately, he wasn’t a candidate for a bone marrow transplant but he was a frequent platelet recipient. As a result, I became a platelet donor and it does my heart good to know first hand how much it helps! Although you may not be able to give your father your bone marrow, I would encourage you to donate platelets. It’s the best way you can help your father.

          • Camie Jo Decker-Laske says:

            My comment is directed to Lisa who wrote:
            Lisa _ October 19, 2011 at 8:58 pm
            “This is very interesting. My dad has Myelodysplastic Syndrome and may need a bone marrow transplant in the future. I have been on this Registry for years and thought that since my dad and I have different blood types (O+/A+), I had no potential to be his match … but, after reading this, there is a chance I could still be his match, should he come to the point where he needs it. Good to know. Thanks! :<)"

            MY Dad had Mylodysplacia Disorder Syndrome back in 2001. He was the OLDEST person at UofM Cancer Center to have a stem cell transplant. His youngest brother was his Perfect match by all 6 counts they use.
            However, my dad "was" o-, but became o+ after the transplant! It was amazingly cool!!! Anyhow, he was given 4+ more years of life from this, and was COMPLETELY in remission of this blood cancer. Amen to the wonders of research and donors!!! Unfortunately, he developed lung cancer from his many years of smoking earlier in his life, and passed away after it moved into his abdominal region and then into his brain. We lost him in 2005…but he put up the good fight! :)
            I pray often that I can Be a Match to someone and give them the gift of life that MY Uncle gave to my Dad!! It was truly a Blessing! <3 Many thoughts and prayers to you and your family for a full recovery!!!

        • Gary says:

          wow…i’m ab+ also…but i can give whole blood out here…have for 10 years now…

        • Gary says:

          ‘So if you are AB, the most effective thing you can do is to help recruit and maybe drive your type O (or even type A or type B) friends to a donor center or blood drive.’…Joy…rude…learn the meaning of the word…Tact…

    • betsie letterle says:

      It is great that you asked about the blood type as many people might think is is a blood type match. It is not the blood type of a person that matches a patient. It is the Tissue Type which is inherited from the mother and father of the patient. There are several blood types, but many, many, many different tissue types. Because tissue types are inherited, patients are most likely to match someone of their own race or ethnicity. People from every background are needed!

  3. Basia Christ says:

    I want to become a bone marrow donor and am not able to do so only because I am 64 years old. I am extremely healthy and donated a kidney on 11/3/10 at UCLA. I want to do more to help others and my UCLA transplant coordinator suggested I become a bone marrow donor.

    However, when I contacted the National Bone Marrow Registry, I was denied an application MERELY BECAUSE I AM OVER 60. I’ve read your policy that states:

    You must be between the ages of 18 and 60 to join the Be The Match Registry. Age guidelines are not meant to discriminate. They are meant to protect the safety of the donor and provide the best possible outcome for the patient. ..

    The upper age limit is based on donor and patient considerations. There is a small increase in the risk of side effects from anesthesia in older donors.”

    I am willing to take any risk to save someone’s life as I’ve proven when I donated a kidney. I want to be allowed to go through the testing and be judged solely on my health to donate…not because of my age.

    • Maureen says:

      Basia, if you still want to help, check with your local Red Cross or Blood bank and inquire about platelet donations. I donate every 2 weeks, and platelets are in very high demand for cancer and burn patients. If you can’t donate bone marrow, platelets are the next best thing you can give, and they are ALWAYS needed.

      • Doug says:

        Basia:

        Maureen is exactly right. I also donate platelets every two weeks. MANY critically ill people need platelets. My Dad (myelodysplastic syndrome) and my son (leukemia) have been among them. Organ transplant patients also require platelets. Donating platelets regularly would be a great way to continue your (well demonstrated!!) desire to help other people.

        • Peter says:

          I’ve been registered for five years ever since a friend was diagnosed with MDS.

          I’m ineligible to donate blood, due to having resided in the U.K. in the mid-90s (see Red Cross link at Website above) but this doesn’t disqualify me from donating marrow.

          Anybody know the rules for donating platelets? I will be “aging out” of marrow donation in a year, and like Basia would still like to help.

          • Peter says:

            P.S. click my name to visit the R.C. website link

          • DeLana says:

            Sorry to tell you this, but if you’re ineligible to donate whole blood due to “Mad Cow Disease” (which now also affects me as a European, although I never lived in the UK), this applies to platelets also… I was a former platelet donor and rejected in ’02 for that reason. However, if you’re under 61, you CAN donate marrow (it doesn’t make sense to me either). And of course you can always donate organs.

    • Elis says:

      Basia,
      I admire your commitment to help others! One of the ways you could help more is by advocating and encouraging others to join the registry. A lot of people aren’t aware, or afraid to join, but someone like you can help educate people in your community. Wouldn’t it be great if you saved a life just by persuading your neighbor to join!

    • Kati says:

      Don’t be offended because it is not a discrimination entirely against your health (you may be the exception to the rule but in general people over the age of 60-65 don’t do as well with surgery).

      As we age certain enzymes in our cells do not work as well and it is likely that your hematopoietic stem cells (the unique and hard to get cells in the bone marrow transplant that save the patient) may also act as “older” cells and not work in the patient they are transplanted into (although as they tend to be quite mysterious and difficult cells to study we really just don’t know how older human stem cells would work in a transplant). So this is not only a consideration for your health but also that of the recipient–as you noted in your quote that the upper age limit is based on donor AND patient considerations.

    • Ali Keilbach says:

      Wow, thank you for being such a caring person. It makes me teary eyed when I hear of such kind heartedness. I hope they can make an exception for you.

    • Erica says:

      Wow! Reminds me of seven pounds. It’s pretty amazing that you’re willing to go through all of this to help others. Don’t quit trying.

    • betsie letterle says:

      Basia – it is wonderful that you are so giving and willing to help. While the guidelines must be adhered to would you be willing to help in another way? Often volunteers can help at marrow drives in various capacities – some local offices have volunteers help put together resources – I hope you will consider offering your gift to help in another way – your passion to help is commendable! Thank you

    • Shelly says:

      AMEN!!! I totally agree with you!! I’m only 44 years old, but I feel the same way!! Keep up the fight!!

    • Joy says:

      The likelihood of a successful transplant goes down rapidly with donor age, unfortunately. I hope they find out why, because the limiting factor is (supposedly) NOT mostly about the risk to the donor. They ran a chart here a couple of newsletters back, proving the point. Mind you, if there’s no other match, you’d think a patient in extremis might take a 15% chance, rather than a 60% chance of survival, if the other alternative is a 0.1% chance. And I do think that both the patient and the donor should still be given the option, with full disclosure on both ends.

  4. Sam B says:

    I used to donate blood cells and platelets, but I can’t anymore. I donated both, figuring it was the broadest way to help. I donated platelets and then, two weeks later, I’d donate whole blood. Two months after that, I donated platelets again and whole blood another two weeks after that.

    Unfortunately, I was in the Air Force and stationed overseas in the UK and Germany. Further, I went over to Saudi Arabia in ’92 as part of Desert Shield/Desert Storm and stopped back in the UK on my way back home. Therefore, I’m ineligible to donate blood now because of Mad Cow fears. I’m thoroughly bummed about that as I’m no longer to help those that need it now. I wish there was a way to test for this, but as I understand it, the only way is an autopsy and that’s just a TAD too extreme for me!

    Speaking of this, does this eliminate me from being a bone marrow donor? I just thought of that. I certainly hope it doesn’t!

    • Kasia says:

      Sam,

      I, too, cannot donate blood (and therefore no platelets for me either) because of time spent abroad and that pesky Mad Cow Disease.

      BUT, from what I’ve read is that you can join the registry and if/when there is a match, that info will be part of your medical history. Only then will you potentially be excluded. I’m not sure how they choose if it’s ok or not, since I haven’t gotten that far in the donation process.

      Here’s the direct quote from this website (look under Medical Guidelines on the main Be the Match Website):
      “You are allowed to register regardless of where you have traveled. If you are selected as a potential donor, recent travel to areas at risk for such infections such as malaria or mad cow disease will be evaluated.”

    • Taryn says:

      Sam B. you can donate bone marrow; it has nothing to do with blood. I too was stationed overseas, and a long time ago they gave shots to expose you to hep b. I don’t have that, but can’t give blood, but can give plazma. I’m bummed about that because I have AB- type. Go get swab and get on list! Be a match and if this happens, you can give more than one time, just in case later you need to give to a family member, the marrow replenishes, so get to it Sam B. :-D

    • Catherine says:

      Regarding not being able to donate blood if you’ve spent time in Europe, the Red Cross has updated their rules – check their website; old rules had said that you couldn’t spend more than something like 6 weeks in western Europe during the 1980s and maybe 90′s (can’t remember the exact timeframe) for fear of mad cow. I spent a year in France during the 80′s and thought I’d been banned for life from donating blood. Recently found out that they have updated the timeframe to something like a cumulative 5 years in western Europe. Verify these rules on the Red Cross website. Anyway, that needle hurt more than I remembered, but it was great to be able to donate blood again after so many years! Hope this info helps!

    • Mike says:

      You should sign up for the bone marrow registry. I have been a whole blood donor for years and recently received my twenty gallon pin, but I decided to switch to platelets as it seems like there’s a greater need for it. I was disappointed when I went for the first time and was deferred due to high blood pressure. Does anyone have any secrets to lowering it other than going on medication which I don’t want to do?

      • Jill says:

        Try drinking Aloe Vera juice. It’s almost clear, but has a slight yellow color. Hardly has any taste. I buy it at my local grocery store in the organic section, a brand called Lily of the Desert – Whole leaf. There is no pulp. Aloe is a natural antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, anti-inflamitory and it cleans the cholesterol from your blood. Studies have shown people that were candidates for heart surgery didn’t have to, after drinking the juice regularly. I use it regularly when I feel any symptoms of a cold or other illness coming on. Once when I was giving platlets the nurse commented on how little “gunk” was in my blood (cholesterol). I told her that I drink Aloe Vera juice… she was surprised. Give it a try… it couldn’t hurt anything! I’m noticing that it’s helping me not have arthritic pain (anti-inflamitory agent!)

      • Joy says:

        Exercise (low intensity at first, like walking an hour at a comfortably brisk clip, raising your breathing and heartbeat slightly), every day. Best to work up to where you can do an hour to an hour and a half at a stretch, rather than breaking it into bits. Less salt in your diet, ditto more veggies/fiber, in place of fattier foods, starches and sugars. Doesn’t have to be extreme–snack on a couple of carrots, a chunk of cucumber, a few celery sticks, a tomato, a red or green pepper here and there, when you would otherwise have gone for something salty, fatty or baked. Deep breathing / relaxation. You can start to see results in a month or two.

      • Nadene Lundmark says:

        Mike,
        hopefully you’ll get this message…. it’s been almost a year since your post. Watch the video forks over knives http://www.sprword.com/videos/forksoverknives/

        Animal protein in the diet causes a lot more than just high blood pressure…. it causes heart disease and cancer cells thrive off of it. Cut out the animal protein… blood pressure will go down, cholesterol will decrease, and if you had any build up of plaque in you arteries it will COMPLETELY reverse. No meds, no treatments… just no meat, fish, eggs, dairy…. if you have any it should be less than 5% of your diet. It’s an amazing video if you have the time…

        • Becky Rundall says:

          Nadene, I want to thank you for sharing the Forks over Knives film. My husband and I just watched it and have made some decisions about changing our diets and eliminating meat and dairy. Thank you, thank you.

  5. Jennifer says:

    I can’t donate a lot of money to causes, but I believe very strongly in giving. Registering for the bone marrow registry and donating platelets regularly are a wonderful way to do this. Platelet donation takes a while – a few hours – but is well worth the time investment because they are always needed. I encourage everyone who is healthy to check with their local Red Cross about this process.

  6. Terri says:

    What is a rare blood type, besides AB+? I am already a registry member. Just curious.

    • Emily says:

      O negative is also in high demand because it’s the universal donor type

    • Lauren says:

      AB- is more rare than AB+ but a person that is O may also have a rare blood type even though O is the universal donor. There are many, many antigens, beyond ABO and the “negative” or “positive”, that get tested to determine a match for a recipient. Blood banking is very interesting!

    • Michael Stein says:

      There are factors other than A, B and Rh. Some of those factors are very common, even more common than Rh+. Some people who lack those common factors will have reactions to a transfusion even though the A, B, and Rh factors are a match. Unfortunately this site seems to think that any link is an attempt to spam, so I can’t post it here. Examples of rare types are Duffy-negative, Kp(a-b-), Hy-, and Er(a-). Search for bloodbook.

    • Beth says:

      AB- is the rarest, followed by B- and then AB+.

    • Barb says:

      The ABO type is part of what makes blood rare, but even more important are other blood antigens. Blood recipients, negative for these antigens, when exposed to donors that are positive form antibodies which makes it very difficult to find compatible blood. Those are the very rare donors – If you are type AB (positive or negative) I would recommend that you donate platelets or plasma – an AB person can receive any ABO type of blood but only AB platelets or plasma – That’s what is in short supply.

  7. Maria says:

    I’ve always assumed I could not donate blood or platelets. I take birth control pills, and synthetic thyroid. I’ve never actually asked a medical professional though. Anyone know?

    • Victoria says:

      Yes, you can donate blood while taking oral contraceptives and/or synthetic thyroid. I’ve done it.

    • Lori says:

      Maria, Victoria is correct, neither birth control nor synthetic thyroid medication should prevent you from donating. You can call a donor health consultant at the American Red Cross at 866-236-3276 with any other questions, toll free and confidential. You can start saving lives today!

  8. melissa says:

    I am a universal donor (O+) so they tell me that they would rather have my blood than platelets. Since it tends to be a more common blood type, I will probably never get called for bone marrow. But I am staying on the list as long as I can. A bone marrow transplant helped my Aunt go from a wheelchair to walking around full time. I think that would be so rewarding to be able to do that for someone.

    I think the age thing should be revised. There are so many other things that eliminate people from being donors, that anything they fear that comes with advanced age will be eliminated anyway. A lot of people are taking better care of themselves and living longer. I didn’t think there was an expiration date on bone marrow.

    • Lori says:

      I have B-, only 2% of the population has this blood type. Does anyone know if this makes me more or less likely to be a match for someone?

      • Katie says:

        it is not so much dependent on your blood type, what matters in these procedures would be HLA typing and if it is a good match for a person.

    • me says:

      I’ve been on the list for 10 years and wonder why I’ve never been called to donate. I never thought about it being the common blood type (B+).

      • Patty says:

        Hang in there. I’ve been on the registry since the mid 1990s and jsut got a call late last year that I was a match. I’ve gone through all the pre-testing and physical and am anxioulsy awaiting the stem cell collection in May. Your day may come – but only God knows when. Be patient!

        • Pat says:

          I had been on the registry for about 20 years. Got called once, but they found a better match. However back in December of last year I got the call, did all the testing, and donated stem cells in March.
          My donor liaison, who was wonderful btw, told me I must have been the absolute only match there was since I am 55 and a female and first choice would be a younger male.
          So hang in there all who haven’t been called. Your time may come, and even if it doesn’t, you are doing a huge service just by being in the registry and being willing to help.

      • jaida says:

        I’ve been on the list for 14 years and haven’t gotten called—it’s a little depressing

        • Stacy says:

          Troy, if you are a possible match for a patient, a representative from Be The Match will try to contact you by email or phone.

    • Peter says:

      Universal donor is O- I believe. Donating with your Rh+ antigens could have negative effects on a recipient whose Rh factor was unknown, but turned out to be negative (of any blood type, even O).

      • Alicia says:

        Rh+ (as I am from pregnancy) is not an issue for a bone marrow transplant unless the patient is a woman of childbearing age and plans a subsequent pregnancy. My guess is a better match would outweigh the Rh factor.

    • Joy says:

      Blood type is not the relevant factor. And the chance of the transplanted marrow properly colonizing the recipients bones does go down, down, down with donor age. Could be that if they find out why, they’ll have found one of the main “secrets of aging,” so I’m not holding my breath for them to reverse that. No idea if it is telomere length or epigenetic silencing, but something tells your cells that they, and you, are no longer young. Could be that’s part of how we live so long without having more cancers; cells that divide enthusiastically and move happily to new places are also “better” at turning into cancerous cells. So maybe it’s good that as we age, and as more of our cells take random “hits” in the DNA that mess up our cancer control genes, there are also other mechanisms saying, “slow down, buddy” to our stem cells.

  9. Libby says:

    Melissa, you aren’t quite a universal donor. Although O+ can be given to any blood type that is Rh positive, it cannot be given to O- recipients. The actual Universal donor is O – It can be given to any blood type and it doesn’t matter if the recipient is Rh positive or negative. Just an FYI.

  10. Julie says:

    Thanks for all this great information about donating platelets. I have been disappointed to have never been contacted after ten years on the bone marrow registry. If I understand a previous poster is it very unlikely because I have a common blood type A positive? Thanks.

    • me says:

      I’m in the same boat. I want to help, but I haven’t been called in more than 10 years on the registry. My blood type is B+.

      • Laurie says:

        @ Julie –

        I don’t know the correlation between having a common blood type and the odds of donating, but I can tell you I am also A positive, and have matched and donated – twice! Who knows why? So many factors (markers, etc.) go into the match. Just thankful I was able to give back.

        • Julie says:

          Thanks Laurie – so maybe there’s hope for me! I certainly would love to be called and to help someone in need.

      • angie says:

        I’m B+ also, & have been on the registry since 1991! only once have I been called (in 95)& then I was not a match. So bummed cuz I would love to help!

  11. michelle says:

    I am A+ I donate platletts and blood I have been registered to donate bone marrow for a year.I would like to help in any way I can is there other places I can register to help? I m 30 yrs. Old and healthy.I would be willing to donate tissue,kidney ,whatever I can .I lost a good friend because of kidney failure.Any advise is appreciated. Thank-you

  12. Lisa says:

    My understanding is that marrow matches are determined by TISSUE type, not blood type. I believe they do many levels of tissue typing to determine best marrow matches.

  13. eric says:

    blood type isn’t marrow tissue

  14. eric says:

    oops didn’t see that lisa had already answered the prior questions!!!

  15. Mike says:

    Gee, I was disappointed. I was thinking this was going to give us details on our HLA typing, what I understood they measured when they took our samples. Along with that I expected they would give us the relative frequency of those types within the overall population. They might also give us some cross-correlation data. As in one particular type I have is in 5% of the populations and another is 4% of the population, but they might not be independently distributed. As in, it could be half the people with the type that 4% have also have the type that 5% have, or it could be that they almost never coincide.

    I have been on the marrow registry since it’s inception, as I was typed for another registry, and when the national registry started up, that registry asked if I wanted my typing info forwarded to the national registry. I did, and subsequently, I was called for additional testing. However, I wasn’t subsequently asked to donate. I presume someone else was a better match.

    But, the reason I asked about the frequency issue — and yes, I work with statistics every day — is that I wonder if I either have a very rare type and wouldn’t be likely to find a good match if I ever needed it, or, alternatively, perhaps I have a type that is extremely healthy, and never or rarely needs a marrow transplant. It would be nice to know if either of those was likely.

    Best wishes to all.

  16. France says:

    I am also AB+. I’ve been on the registry for about 15 years, and I have not ever been told I was even a close match. I was on a list to donate blood components for several years (evidently I don’t meet some minimum weight requirement to donate whole blood?), and I was never called to donate for that either, and was told that I would probably never be called because there just not much demand for my blood type.

    How do I find a Rare Blood Donor group? I have never heard of it, and, while I know type AB blood is only about 4% of the population, I never realized it was considered rare, I always thought that was for the people who had the really rare types–like the AB-, and those outside the ABO group. Thanks for any info you can provide!

  17. Nick says:

    I have O- blood, 32 years old, donate on a regular basis, and would love to be able to donate bone marrow to help someone. I am healthy and hate to see others not be able to enjoy life is I do. I would love to help someone get better! I am already registered and have been for 10 years, just find it hard to believe I have never been contacted!

  18. AMP says:

    I’m an O- and am constantly hounded by the various blood organizations I’ve donated through (I donated whenever I can), but HLA actually stands for human leukocyte antigens. The antigens need to match because foreign antigens attract T-Cells that will attack the “invader”.

    I haven’t donated yet, but I only joined a little less than a year ago and I’m still quite young and healthy. :)

  19. Cathy says:

    I donated platelets for years (double product) but with the last FDA change – because I lived in Greece for the entire 1980 and mad cow (meat thru the comissary system from England) disease, I am no longer able to donate. Hopefully a test for mad cow will be developed and I (and other military and their dependents who lived in Europe) will be allowed to donate. Platelets are a wonderful thing to donate, if you can’t donate bone marrow. I have confirmed that even though I can no longer donate blood/platelets/plasma – I can donate bone marrow if I’m ever contacted. All of you who’ve registered to offer to help save a life are wonderful. Thank you.

  20. Tim says:

    A friend of mine has leukemia and is waiting for a match through the NMDP. I am wondering why it seems to take so long for confirmation of a match (or matches)? He’s been waiting what seems to be a long time. Does anyone know what the NMDP process is for identifying potential matches?

  21. Terry says:

    I’m not a fanatic about donations. I have given a lot of blood in my lifetime, and I joined the bone marrow registry 20 years ago when my brother died of cancer. If I can help someone avoid that fate, great. Now I am 59 so I suppose I won’t get called. I understand that the marrow donation process is a bit invasive, but I think that is a small price to give someone extra years of life.

    • Nancy says:

      I have been on the registry over 15 years and never called. However I was a perfect match for my brother 11 years ago. It worked and he was cancer free but passed away due to complications that radiation caused to the of his heart. I would be so honored to help someone again,

  22. chris says:

    Ask a person if they are willing to receive stem cells if they need them, and then ask them if they would be a donor. I notice a lot of people are takers but not givers.

    • 57chykn says:

      Really???!? I dont quite agree with your post and frankly am a little offended. As a reciepient of a stem cell transplant I would give ANYTHING to be able to donate SOMETHING…..ANYTHING to give back. There is a stranger out there in the world who saved my life and I am forever grateful. However….as a transplant reciepient we have “damaged goods” and are not allowed to donate ANYTHING…I imagine most of us would give if we could.

    • Melissa says:

      You’re saying this on a board where almost everyone has signed up to become a donor?

  23. David Hayes says:

    Just to share this bit of trivia: The recipient has all remaining bone marrow irradiated before they get the new marrow. The donor’s marrow will create their new blood, so after the procedure, the recipient will have the same type blood as the donor whether or not it was that type before.

    I think I have been waiting over 20 years for a call that my marrow is needed. I wonder if the statistics take amount of time on the registry into account. I didn’t know that 60 was the limit. That means I only have 6 more years left while I’m eligible to donate. In the meantime, I will continue to give double red donations every 4 months. I’m O-neg.

    More trivia that I think is cool. There is a disease in which a person’s body produces too much iron. The easiest and best treatment for it is donating blood. Donors have found out after years of donating that, not only have they saved other people’s lives by donating, they have saved their own. What a wonderful reward for an unselfish act!

    • eric says:

      I don’t believe that you can donate blood. My grandfather had Hemochromotosis (the only blood disease of too much iron) and he was never allowed to donate. Too bad he couldn’t…even more help of those with anemia.

      • Paul says:

        I don’t think I have a special condition, but my twin and I both have O- blood type, high platelet counts (450,000 microliters), and high iron between 17.5-18 g/dl. But, I have heard People of Irish, British, and Scandinavian decent are known for high iron levels in their blood.. Anyway, we donate platelets every two weeks and red blood cells every 4 weeks and we’ve done it for over 10 years.. So, we are pretty popular at our donation site. I think we are ready to get on the bone marrow registry. I am curious to know if we both would be called if we become a match

  24. Dave S. says:

    I pray each night that I will be selected to be a donor. I would love to give back and be able to save a life.

  25. michelle says:

    But how do I find out how I can actually help besides donating blood and platletts.what kind of organization do I contact if I willing to donate more than this.if I willing and able to do more ?

    • Connie says:

      Michelle if you are interested in donating perhaps a kidney I would suggest you go to the National Kidney Foundation website. If you look under the donate tab you will find a link to donating a kidney. It has been two years since I donated a kidney and it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Good luck in your endeavors!

  26. michelle says:

    When I signed up to be a marrow donor they only swabbed my mouth did I miss something during the registration process?? Was that all I needed to do besides provide my contact info.

    • Diana Nevins says:

      That was all you needed to do, Michelle. The mouth swab was to collect cells from the lining of your cheek for tissue typing. Bone marrow donation is based on HLA typing, NOT blood type!

    • Stacy says:

      Michelle,
      When you joined the Be The Match Registry, you would have provided a cheek swab, and completed a from with some health information and your contact information. That’s all it takes to join the registry.

  27. Janice says:

    It has to do with HLA tissue typing and not so much your blood type. I was A+ and my sister O+. She was my match for my transplant in 2006.

    There are so many people in need of transplants and so few matches. I was so blessed to have a sister that matched me, but that is not the case with so many. It is really a simple process to donate if you are the best match. While some people do actually have the procedure to have the marrow aspirated and are put to sleep, most have the periperal stem cells collected in an apheresis clinic. It takes about 4-5 hours for each collection. My sister actually collected 2 times to get the stem cells needed for my transplant. She was not impaired at all after each collection. I am so thankful to God for providing my sister as my match…my donor. You never know when you or someone you love may be the person needing this. Thank you to all who are willing to do this for those in need.

  28. michelle says:

    That is why I feel the way I do if I have what someone needs to improve and help their life then I want to help. I would like to donate a organ,tissue or blood if it gives them a chance to be with loved ones and grow old.I just don’t know how to go about it or where besides to the blood banks and being registered here.

  29. Tara says:

    Janice is right! It has nothing to do with blood types. It is all about HLA types, which stands for Human Leukocyte Antigens. These are antigens which are encoded for by genes on the sixth chromosome. This is why they only need a cheek swab to get a DNA sample rather than a blood sample for HLA typing. When a person is told they are a match, this simply means that they are a match for the 6 HLA antigens that they test for: 2 HLA-A, 2 HLA-B, and 2 HLA-DR to be exact. This still doesn’t mean you’re a perfect match because although you have the same 6 antigens, the genes that code for those antigens are not the same in two non-related individuals. Where as if a sibling is a match for those 6 antigens (like Janice was for her sister), that means she is genetically identical for those six atigens. And that is very important because when a patient is lucky enough to have a sibling who is a match, they are much less likely to reject the transplant than if they were to receive it from a non-related donor who is only phenotypically matched rather than genetically matched, if that makes any sense to everyone! But ultimately, what you guys are all wondering is what makes you more or less likely to be a match for a perfect stranger. Well, just like certain blood types are more common, certain HLA types are also more common. And most importantly, people of the same race and ethnicity are more likely to have common HLA types than people of different ethnicities. Thus, a Caucasian person of German descent is far more likely to be the match for another German than for say an African American, a Vietnamese, or even an Italian patient in need of a transplant. And this is where you can help out most! There are certain ethnic groups that are heavily underrepresented in the registry and 2 of those groups are Asians and African Americans. There has been a large effort in Southeast Wisconsin to try to raise awareness about the registry in Asian populations to get more people to sign up because there are so many Asian patients waiting to find their match! All it takes is a cheek swab to register, so please spread the word especially to people who you know who are of the ethnicities I mentioned above!

  30. joy says:

    About 10 years ago I was asked to take a second blood test because I was identified as a potential donor. I never heard back. Are the results of this second test saved in my donor file? Are these results used to help with a potential match for the future/

    • Stacy says:

      Joy, yes, the results of your second test would have been saved in your donor file, where they can be reviewed in any patient’s search for a donor.
      Thanks!
      Stacy, from Be The Match

  31. France says:

    Did everyone here have a cheek swab??? I’ve never been told anything about that! I got on the Registry in the mid-1990s at Bonfils in CO, were they maybe not doing that back then? Now I’m worried that’s why I haven’t ever been called? I would feel terrible, since I only have about 8 years left before I turn 60. I think at the very least they could make it 62, or even 65; I have been a vegan for 18 years and I am very healthy.

    • Lisa says:

      I didn’t have the cheek swab either. I too, signed up in the 90′s and I’m pretty sure they just didn’t do it that way back then. I had my blood drawn at my local doctor’s office and then it was fed ex’d to Omaha, which at that time, was the regional office for the registry. As I recall, I paid around $80 to sign up to donate too. I don’t think it is that way anymore.

  32. France says:

    Thank you for this info Tara! I assumed that since they took blood, that a person’s blood type was a factor.

    So if a person is a blend of several different ethnicities does that make them more or less likely to be a match??? Are they potentially a match for more people, or only slightly a match for several different ethnicities? Would they be most likely to be a match only to others who share their exact ethnic background?

  33. Tara says:

    France…I believe they used to use a blood sample before the cheek swab became available, but either way they would have the necessary cells to complete HLA typing for you, so I wouldn’t worry. As for the question of mixed ethnicity, the antigens are inherited from both your mother and father, so typically someone of mixed ethnicity would have less of a chance of matching with someone who is not of mixed ethnicity. However, there are so many people of mixed ethnicity, especially in the United States and some of those people are desperately waiting for a donor right now to save their lives, which makes donors of mixed ethnicity just as valuable because they could be the match for one of those people who is waiting! The more people who register, the more lives will be saved! It is that simple! There are always local donor drives, and it only takes about 5-10 minutes out of your day! I remember the day I registered…it was Valentine’s Day. I remember leaving the classroom where I registered and noticing that I had several text messages from friends and family back home saying that there had been a fatal shooting at the university where my mom is a professor. In fact, she would have taught a class in that lecture hall a few days later. 5 innocent lives were senselessly taken that day and I sometimes think that if I ever happen to be a match for someone someday, it would be weird that the date I registered is now a date that is permenantly engrained in my memory! I have never been called, but I still have another 35 years on the list, so maybe someday!

  34. David says:

    It was 19 years before i was matched.(I’m O-, for those keeping track.) I don’t mind so much not being matched but when a local patient’s family is having a registry drive I know already that i don’t match and that is a bummer.
    I also know, at least 5 years ago, nobody on the registry matched me (as i was the only match for my recipient.)

  35. Kathy says:

    Many years ago I was called by the marrow registry as a possible match. Surprisingly my brother wasn’t but he’s not sure where he originally donated ever got to the be the donor registry. I had 8 vials of blood drawn for further testing and all they told me after the fact was that I was not needed. They didn’t say I wasn’t a perfect match, they just said I wasn’t needed. I’m a mutt (irish, scottish, german, english, polish) so I wonder how we wind up being perfect matches.

    • alice says:

      how long after giving the 8 tubes of blood till you found you did not match? I’m a mutt too. just gave my 8 tubes on tuesday, was told it can take up to 8 weeks.

  36. Alan says:

    With AB- blood, I have been happily chased to give blood and all its components for many years. Marrow donation is a waiting game since the match has to be perfect and with so many human HLA variations, it is tough to get picked. Having worked at a children’s hospital makes it harder because you want to help…but blood dontations help so many with one donation. Keep the faith by continuing to donate.

  37. Robb says:

    I am waiting to get the call- I hope it will happen and I can donate. It is just great being on the list but to be able to change someone’s life in such a meaningful way (especially a complete stranger)will be a life changer.

  38. Tara says:

    Kathy…first off, you are not a “mutt”…you are mostly Western European and I am sure there are several very similar “mutts” in this country who are also mostly Western European, one of which was your match. Secondly, I am not surprised your brother was not a match. There are thousands and thousands of people waiting for a transplant because their siblings were not a match for them!

  39. David says:

    How can I find out my tissue type and chances of donating?

    • Stacy says:

      Hi David,
      I work with Be The Match. If you want to find out your tissue type, you can contact your donor center and provide them your donor center number and donor ID number and complete a consent form requesting this information. However, we can’t determine the chances that you or any one individual will donate. If you have a more common tissue type, you may be more likely to be requested as a donor, but there may also be many other potential donors for the same patient. If you have an uncommon tissue type, it is also less likely that a searching patient will have that tissue type. Unfortunately, we can’t predict if or when you’ll be asked to donate.

  40. jennifer says:

    I have been told that my O- platelets are great for babies and donate often for the cause. Does anyone know what makes my platelets more baby-friendly than someone else’s?

    • Grace says:

      Jennifer
      My son will be two on Sunday and was saved by blood donation at birth. His hematocrit was 7 and hemoglobin was 2. That’s almost no blood at all. He was delivered by emergency c-section and was in the nicu for over a month. My husband and I speak at different functions for the Inland Northwest Blood Center and they have started a program called O Baby. It is for O blood types. Your blood type is so baby friendy because it is universal. Meaning anyone can have it. My son, Owen didn’t have time to get his blood typed. He needed blood right away! Thank God for his donors. We recently got a rare chance to meet his donors. There were 3. One is 17, one is 27, and one is 71 years old! Anyway that is why your blood type is so baby friendly. Thank you for all that you do to save others!!!!

  41. Rebecca says:

    This is so touching to see how excited everyone is for the possibility to maybe donate and save a life… And to hear the stories about lives that HAVE been saved, like Grace’s baby who received life-saving blood and plateets from three anonymous strangers. It makes me feel so good inside to think that even in a cynical world thoere are people who care deeply and will step up to help when they can. I’m sure it would be an unforgettable experience to be someone’s match & donate for them, but just being ON the registry makes me feel great. Thanks to all of you out there who joined the registry also!

  42. kesha says:

    My 2 yr old had sickle cell disease SS type. Has been in hospital about 8 times in the last yr. Just had her spleen removed. I have been in the registry since mid 90′s but never called. Who knew i would be a patent years later depending on this registry for my own child. Thank you all who give so willingly. We (mommy, daddy n daughter) just gotten hla testing last month so they can search for her match. Could be any of you! God bless each of you.

  43. Heather says:

    I have tears in my eyes as I read all of these wonderful responses from all of these generous people. I can only hope that one of you out there is a match for my dad. We are waiting for a donor match, as my dad was diagnosed with AML on January 6. He had to go through 3 rounds of chemo….68 days in the hospital….he has been out of the hospital for almost 4 weeks now. The doctors are telling us that a stem cell transplant is his only hope. Thank you to everyone out there who has generously donated. I am on the donor registry…..it just doesn’t seem fair that I can’t be a donor for my dad!

  44. Patricia says:

    If you are a woman who has never been pregnant, your whole blood is in high demand for transfusion into newborn babies. I am A- and never been pregnant, so my blood was always in high demand. Unfortunately, I can no longer donate blood, but the 15+ gallons I previously donated went to good use. I also was a marrow donor in 1995.

  45. Cynthia says:

    I have been on the registry for over 20 years (I joined in my 20′s) and have never been called, not even for additional testing. My info. is up-to-date, I’m on the email list, etc. I know that a large pool of donors is needed to find the right match, yet it is a strange feeling to wait to be useful to someone who really needs help. My heart goes out to those who are waiting to receive the right match. I hope one day I can be that for someone.

  46. Stephanie says:

    My issue is this. I am currious as to how further screen myself to better aee if I am a posible marrow donor to someone who desperatly needs it.

    What is the proceedure and what would the further requiremnts need me to do.

    I am will to do ALMOST anything.I know how desperate these people who need these donatios must feel.
    I truelyant to help these people.

    Please let me know what it is that can do or if I can do anything to help these people. That is why I startd by donating blood and anthgting else possible.

    Please let me know i I can be of any service.

    THank you for your time.

    • Stacy says:

      Hi Stephanie,
      I work with Be The Match. As a member of the Be The Match Registry, you are already part of every patient’s search for a match. If one of these searches ever identifies you as a potential match, we’ll contact you to ask for further testing to see if you’re the best match. I know it can be frustrating, but there is nothing further for you to do to improve your chances of being a match.

      Even if you are not called as a match, there are other things you can do that truly WILL help patients. You can spread the word about the need for donors, consider a financial contribution to Be The Match Foundation, maybe even help host a donor drive in your community (http://www.marrow.org/HELP/Recruit_Donors/index.html).
      Thank you so much for your passion to help people in need of a transplant.

  47. Nowell says:

    I’m AB-. I know it’s pretty uncommon so I think that if I ever donated blood that it would really help a few. I registered with BeTheMatch because a friend of mine did get the call and did donate his marrow. I wanted that feeling that he got just knowing that I was helping someone. I look forward to the call if and when it ever comes. I think that all of us even care to help someone else is AWESOME!!!

    Aloha!!

  48. Rebecca says:

    Hello. I plan on leaving the United States soon for an undefined period of time. Will I be able to participate in Be the Match from a different country? If anybody has information on this, please reply. Thanks :)

  49. Ann says:

    How do you even find out your blood type? I think I joined the registry in 94 or 95, but I was never told what my blood type was (is) – when I ask my doctor, they tell me they would have to do a separate test that insurance would not cover.

  50. jami says:

    Thank you to all who donate platelets. My Mom’s life was likely saved last month to an emergency platelet transfusion.

  51. Amy says:

    I signed up to be a donor about 3 years ago. I recieved a letter saying I was a possible match. I was so ready to to help save someone life. But I wasn’t the best match. I became a member of the Be a Match after losing my boyfriend to leukemia. He was placed on the list for a transplant but no one was every found. I think becoming a member was the best thing I have ever done. Ready and Willing when ever I get the call.

  52. Diane Turscak says:

    I did get further testing about 10 years ago…twice but guess I was not the best match for the patient. So I’m 1 in 40…Now I just turned 60 so I guess your done with me. :-(

  53. Avon says:

    I wish more of the most eager registrants would be told that only 1 out of 540 registrants is called on to donate.

    While that info might deter the general public from bothering to register, it would make the most eager registrants feel a lot better.

    Knowing it makes me less disappointed now that I’m in my late 50s without ever having been called on in 30 years – and more motivated to encourage others to register. As with voting, one can do more good by persuading 5 others to act than by acting oneself.

    (I’m still curious: is it 1 out of 540 registrants annually? 1 out of 540 in a registrant’s lifetime? 1 out of 540 if you’re registered for the average number of years, as I’m sure many drop out? Sometimes, as is true with numerical rarity of blood type, a statistic could mean almost anything!)

    • admin says:

      Hello Avon,
      The number 1 out of 540 (and other numbers in this article) is the current likelihood based on data from the most recent 5 years, looking at number of patients searching for a match and receiving transplants and number of U.S. members on the registry. So the likelihood could change over time.
      Thanks for the question,
      Be The Match

      • Jay says:

        Is there any way to increase my odds of becoming a donor, other than stay health and keep my contact information up to date? I am O- and CMV-negative, but I am 58 years old and my window of opportunity is closing. If there is a way to increase my odds before I hit the 60 year old cut off, I would like to try to help.

        • admin says:

          Hi Jay, your odds of matching a patient actually decrease with age. But you can do many other things while you wait for “the call”! You can spread the word to friends and family, participate in one of our Be The One Run 5K events, or volunteer! You can learn more by visiting http://www.BeTheMatch.org/GetInvolved

  54. Kathy Bowman says:

    A few years ago during a divorce & the loss of both of my parents; I was called to be a possible donor. I was tested & re-retested, and finally; on my birthday…the stem cells were scheduled to be collected. However, my recipient passed before the donation was completed. Every time there is recognition for those that have actually donated I am deeply saddened. I got so close to helping…and then….. My point is, it doesn’t matter if you are called or never called. The fact that each of us cares enough to register and be there for a perfect stranger, whom we will probably never meet…makes all of us…hearth bound angels. God Bless Us All.

  55. CJ says:

    I found this infomration to be very interesting and I too one day hope to be a match to help someone with a second chance in life. CJ

  56. Rick says:

    I just wish I could help someone in need and give them hope for their future.

  57. HC says:

    I have previously donated a kidney – so I’m wondering if the results of tissue typing from that surgery would be of any use … you know, save some time by providing prior information ?

    • Josh says:

      They don’t accept previous typing, even from themselves. I was selected as a potential match 4 times and for all 3 latter times I was re-tested. Only on the 4th, most recent time did I actually donate bone marrow. I was told that if I donated again for the same patient, there would be no more testing other than standard health and blood checks; but for a different patient, I would be re-tested.

  58. Matt says:

    I would like to know how common my tissue is….I got tested because I want to make a difference!

    I just feel that too many people are dying and that at least ONE of them would match me.

  59. Susan says:

    Well-said, Kathy. My mom’s transplant failed, but we’re so thankful that her donor was willing to donate stem cells to a stranger, as well participate in a research project – it gave Mom the only chance she had to fight the disease.

    There seems to be a lot of confusion on this site about when a donor is a match. As previous posts have stated, whether or not you can be a donor depends on your HLA typing, *not* your blood type or gender. (And not being able to donate blood doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t donate marrow or stem cells.)

    HLA (human leukocyte antigen)are proteins that are found on most cells in your body. Your immune system uses these markers to recognize which cells belong in your body and which ones don’t. There are differences in the frequency of certain HLA types among ethnic groups. This means that patients are more likely to find a good match among donors from their own ethnic group.

    Because of this, only half of the people currently searching for a marrow match in the U.S. will find a match in time; the rest will die. Caucasians – 20% in need of a transplant do not find a match in time. Ethnic minorities and people of mixed ethnic background – 70% or more will not find a match in time.

    I’m sure it’s very frustrating to be told you can’t donate due to age or health problems. There are other ways to help, though. Are you able to donate blood? Many patients undergoing stem cell or bone marrow transplants need multiple blood transfusions.

    Those of us who’ve been through this are so incredibly grateful for all of you who are willing to help, in any way at all!

  60. Marion says:

    I became a member in Feb 2011-when I got my donor card the letter gave the “cut-off” age of 61. This past June I turned 60. Does the Foundation notify a member when they are no longer eligible to be a donor due to the age restriction? Does anyone out there know? I donate whole blood every 2 months at my local Red Cross blood drives, and I have designated myself an organ donor on my drivers license and Living Will. My mother died 2 years ago of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma; my father died in 2002; at 1 time he had a kidney removed; I was willing to donate, but no one asked. At my age would I be considered for kidney donation if I applied? Does anyone know? Is there a website? I want to help someone while I still can.

  61. Scarlet Gregory says:

    I have been called twice in the 17 years that I have been a member. The first one, the lady went into remission, but then I knew that there was someone out there that still may need me. A few months ago, I was called for preliminary questioning and they said they would call within two weeks if they needed me and I never got that call. I am 42, so still may get a chance to help someone.

  62. Kim says:

    I joined the registry in 1996. I was a college student who dontated whole blood every chance I got. I was asked during a blood donation if I wanted to join the bone marrow donor registy. I did. I was contacted in 2007 as a possible match. I went on to donate bone marrow. The little boy who received my bone marrow needed a “booster” donation this year. In August, I donated stem cells. Thankfully, both donations went well and he is doing great.

    I just want people to know that being matched can take a long time. It is very important to keep your registry information current. If you joined years ago, make sure they have your current mailing address, email address, and phone number on file.

    Also blood type has very little to do with it (I am O postive). In addition, blood, plasma, and platelet donation are just as necessary and save many lives every year because it is easier to match blood type than bone marrow. So for anyone wanting to help, keep donating what you can as often as you can. And spread the word. Every new registry member is one more chance to save a life.

  63. HECMARY says:

    I’ve been waiting YEARS AND NEVER HAVE CALLED ME, JUST GET INFORMATION. WOULD LIKE TO KNOW IF YOU DO NOT qualifications or is that so far no person compatible with me.

    • admin says:

      Hello,
      Once you have joined the marrow registry, Be The Match will contact you if you are ever a possible match for a patient. Some members are a match soon after joining, some many years later, and some members will never be identified as a match for a patient. You may not have been a match for a patient so far, but one day you might be. As a committed member of the Be The Match Registry, you are giving patients hope.
      Thank you,
      Be The Match

  64. Lea says:

    Hello Basia,
    It was interesting to read your comments! I am also a kidney donor (last summer)and want to give more. I am nearing my 50th blood donation which reminds me how important regular blood donations are. I also am hoping to be a match so i can share bone marrow. Interestingly enough my brother is in his final stage of being a bone marrow match, just th mouth swab is needed. We’re really hoping he will be a match!

    God bless all of you for caring about others!

  65. Norma says:

    It just goes to show how uniquely we are all made by God! I have been on the donor’s list for a very long time too & have never been called but I believe in God’s perfect timing so I will wait patiently for that call or maybe no call. A lot of these questions really don’t matter, what really matters is that there are many loving, giving, wonderful people out there who do care and are willing to help when God says it’s time! God Bless to all those who are trying and to all those who are waiting and to all those who do get the call! I’m sure God is smiling on you all!

  66. kevin says:

    The chances of donating are probably similar to winning the lottery, but I’d rather be the match for someone than win the lottery !

  67. Dolores says:

    I have donated blood for several years. I was told that I have anti-k antibodies in my blood, but that does not prevent me from donating blood. Will this effect my chances of being a bone marrow donor?

    • admin says:

      Hello Dolores,
      You can still join the Be The Match marrow registry (or remain on the registry if you are already a member). If you are ever identified as a match for a patient, the information about the k-antibodies would be passed on to the patient’s doctor for consideration.
      Thanks,
      Be The Match

  68. Becky says:

    This is the nicest thread I’ve ever read on the internet. Any thread you see on a news story or just about anywhere has quite a mix of nice and nasty comments (some heavily tilted to the latter).

    It is wonderful to see giving comments one after another. I’ve been a donor for many years (late 80s?) and still hope to get a call!

    Kudos to everyone!

  69. Tammy says:

    I was lucky enough to be called for additional testing after 13 months on the list. 4 months ago I received a letter telling me that I am a match, but that the patient was not ready for a transplant at that time. Has anyone else experienced this? I truly hope that I’ll have the opportunity to donate to someone someday.

  70. Julie Kookogey says:

    I have been waiting more than 10 years ti be able to help save a life thru a marrow transplant!!!!! It is an actual dream of mine! Like going to Disney World! ha. Im almost 50 yeears old and know I am running out of time for the cut-off age. The best thing in my life would be to give someone a life-saving blood marrow transfusion. Do you know how happy I would be??? Please find me someome!!!!! :)

  71. Elise says:

    I have been on the other end of the donating process. My daughter at 5 months received news of her donor and we went into transplant. She is a healthy 1 year old now that is in complete remission of her blood disease, HLH. I am listed as a donor, of course, and I do wish to help someone one day. What I can say without a doubt is that all of you that are on the donor lists have helped so much already. I do not know her donor yet but I can say he gave me the most precious gift I could ever receive.

  72. Dennis H. says:

    I’m 60 so my days of being a donor are rapidly dwindling. However, I and others here can’t feel bad for not being called. We’re on the list. We were there if anyone needed us. Yeah, it would make us feel good to donate, but we should feel good for at least being willing. Others have mentioned donating platelets. It’s a good thing. You may be saving a life that way.

    Merry Christmas everyone.

  73. Sue H says:

    I have only been registered less than a year but based on my age I have about 7 more years to be on the registry before I am too old to donate. I just think it would an ultimate miracle to be able to donate a small piece of myself to be able to save a life!! My boyfriend does not understand my reasons for wanting to get involved in this but I feel that to save a life would be the ultimate miracle! God Bless all on the registry for your blessed hearts and the desire to help save a life!!

  74. Laura S says:

    I just wanted to say God bless you all who have donated and blessings to those who want to donate. We lost a very dear friend who was unable to find a match not long ago. Every year we have a benefit in his name to help educate the public and bring new donors to the registry. Many people are unaware of the gift of life they can give. Pass the word and God bless u all.

  75. Cathy says:

    I joined the registry in the early 1990′s when I was donating blood at my local blood center. I do not recall having a cheek swab. Would my chances of being a donor be increased if I were to have a cheek swab?
    I used to donate blood regularly but was excluded years ago because I used to live in England. My daughter was also turned down from donating blood even though she is a vegetarian because of her time in England. I have less than 3 years left before I “age out” from being a donor.
    It is inspiring to read the comments on this thread that are all so positive.

  76. Lara says:

    Cathy,

    Sorry you are not able to give blood. That rule about not being able to give because you spent time in England is ridiculous. The blood donation rules are antiquated and too strict and prevent people such as yourself from giving blood. They also will not let gay men donate; the rule was instituted in the 80s before there was a reliable test for HIV and when it was pretty much restricted to the gay male community. Now that we have a reliable test (not to mention that women can contract HIV from sex with men), the rule makes no sense. They don’t even ask if you’ve had unprotected sex, so a woman who has had unprotected sex last week can give blood, while a man who had protected sex with another man once ten years ago is not eligible.

    I certainly hope that the Be the Match registry does not follow these rules about not allowing people to donate. They do extensive tests before you donate anyway, so if you do have HIV, hepatitis, malaria, mad cow disease etc. they will find it and let you know before the transplant.

    I’m O+, so that means I have a pretty good chance donating. I can donate blood to any other + person, A+, B+, or AB+. Unfortunately, I cannot donate to people who are -. O negatives are the best donors, because they can donate blood to anyone. Hospitals have to keep tons of O negative blood on hand, because if they don’t know someone’s blood type, that’s what they have to use.

    • Rebecca says:

      I totally agree.

      The whole “No UK” and “No Gays” thing is getting ridiculous. You can’t judge someone’s behaviors simply by their sexuality. I have straight friends that engage in far riskier behaviors than any of my LGBT friends ever would.
      They want to help save lives too! And this is no time to be turning away good blood.

  77. You could certainly see your skills in the paintings you write. The world hopes for more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to mention how they believe. Always go after your heart.

  78. Sara W says:

    Here’s what I don’t understand… when I signed up, I gave MINIMAL info… Perhaps they have my blood type on file? (I don’t remember, it’s been so long!) But that’s at a maximum what they may have. So – based on such little info, how would they even know if I may be of use to them when a patient comes in?

  79. Poodlemom says:

    I too have been on the BTM Registry for ages, and was called once about 3 years ago, but nothing developed after that. I turn 61 this year, so will be unable to serve after THAT birthday. Blood and platelet donations are routine for me, but other than a kidney, are there any other ‘parts’ that can be transplanted while I’m still living? I’d be glad to help out a fellow human being before my (very healthy) body gives out! Pls advise if you know! Thanks to all BTM and blood and organ donors–proud to be part of your group!

  80. Theresa says:

    I have been on the Registry for over 25 years, my dad died of leukemia over 30 years ago. This procedure was fairly new and we didn’t know much about BMT 30 years ago, I wish we did because he had a twin sister. I am so anxious to help someone with a BMT in honor of my dad. I hope before I get too old, I will be contacted to help save a life.

  81. Tom says:

    Hello Bone Marrow Blog,
    It was great reading the stories posted. Here is a snippet of mine. I was selected to be a bone marrow donor about 15 years ago. The second testing went great and I was planning on going to the hospital in three days to donate when the recipient (34 year old Female), took a turn for the worse and I was told I wouldn’t be needed. I was deeply saddened by this event. Well guess what, three to four weeks ago I got a second request to be a donor and went in for my second level of testing (24 year old Male). I am waiting for the results. I hope and pray that this time it will work as I just turned 60 and was informed that I could donate up to my 61st birthday. So please pray for me that I will be a match as I believe this will be my last. What are the odds on matching twice in a lifetime?

    • Julie G. says:

      Tom that is awesome and I hope you get to do it. I have been on the registry 19 years and only did additional testing once for a young woman whom I was not able to help (I sure hope someone was a better match!!). Good luck- I hope this is your chance and the person in need’s as well.

  82. Mabel says:

    I plan to post the Be the Match link on Facebook on each of my next 6 birthdays until I am too old to donate asking younger people to pick up the baton and carry on the race. I got called once 15+ years ago for further testing but nothing since. I don’t mind standing by until needed and if I never am, I will recruit others.

  83. Anonymous says:

    What if a person recently donated and they were 6 weeks pregnant?

  84. Kitty says:

    I have 6 days left till I age out of eligibility to be a donor. The chances are slim, but I’m still hoping. When I signed up 17 years ago, I was called for additional testing just a few months later.
    Mabel has a great idea about recruiting others.

  85. eric says:

    I have O- blood. Am I the least likely to get the call to donate?

  86. Amber says:

    I just want to donate so bad!! I donate blood and want to save more lives

  87. I can’t wait to do Gods work and be a match for someone:)

  88. Charles says:

    This is a touching article that should make everyone sign up to be a donor. the gift of allowing someone else to live is a life changing one.

  89. Jackie says:

    I am not hoping or wishing to donate, I am willing. I would never hope or wish for somebody else to be sick.

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  91. John says:

    The American Red Cross collected my DNA, Blood samples, and numerous other fluids, they SHOULD either allow patients to willingly select to be added to the Bone Marrow registry by sharing the data, either online or at the time of donation. It could potentially save many lives!

  92. Rick says:

    Hi everyone,

    I was recently contacted to go through confirmatory testing and gave a blood sample yesterday morning. I am 19, a male, and in good health. The potential recipient is a young male. Does anyone have an estimate or any information on the chances of being a match and being asked to donate?

    Thanks!

    • admin says:

      Hi Rick,
      On average, 1 in every 40 members on the U.S. Be The Match Registry will be called for additional testing. Of these, roughly 1 in every 540 registry members will go on to donate bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cells to a patient. Thank you for your question!

  93. Rose says:

    I have a few questions. My brother who is 52 needs a bone marrow transplant. I have 10 brothers and sisters. I’m 51 and want to know what my chances are that I will match. His blood type is Ot and mine is At. Our hair color and eye color are the same.

    • admin says:

      Hi Rose, when you join the Be The Match Registry, you make a commitment to consider donating to any searching patient who matches you. However, if you want to be tested only for a specific patient, you will need to have your testing done privately. You can contact the patient’s/your brother’s transplant center or transplant doctor for more information. Thanks!

  94. Mike says:

    Similar to Rose’s question, but not exactly. I want to know the odds of any one person (unrelated) being a match for a specific patient? I am in need of a bone marrow transplant myself and a lot of friend have asked about how to get tested. I tell them that the odds of them being the best possible donor for me in particular are astronomically small but I’d love to be able to tell them an actual number. FYI despite the low odds of them being able to help me in particular, I have been able to get a few of them to still get tested for the registry anyway, and possibly still help somebody.

    • Mike says:

      No replies? :-(

      • admin says:

        Dear Mike,

        Our apologies for the delayed response!

        We don’t have the number you’re looking for, but here’s another way of explaining how unlikely it is for an individual to be able to donate to a specific, unrelated patient: Since 1987, Be The Match has grown the registry to more than 10.5 million potential donors, and facilitated more than 55,000 transplants. And in all that time—to the best of our knowledge—no one who joined the registry on behalf of a specific patient has ever been matched and gone on to donate to that patient. That is why we stress that registry members be committed to helping any patient in need.

        Matching a patient to a donor relies on testing specific proteins on the surface of white blood cells called human leukocyte antigens (HLA). Half of your HLA markers are inherited from your mother and half from your father. The combination of these proteins makes each person’s bone marrow unique.

        We thank you for using your story and personal experience to encourage others to join the marrow registry for all patients in need of a transplant. We greatly appreciate your help in spreading the word about marrow donation, and our thoughts are with you as you continue your transplant journey. If you have any questions, please contact our patient service coordinators at 1 (888) 999-6743 or at patientinfo@nmdp.org.

        Thank you!

  95. Ron says:

    I just joined BeTheMatch only five months ago, and I was already contacted as a “Potential Match”. Is being contacted periodically as a “Potential Match” fairly common for some donors, or might I have joined just in time to help save a life? Anyway, I will be glad to help save anybody I can as frequently as I am needed. Life is very precious.

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  97. Kevin Slifka says:

    My father-in-law died of a form of blood cancer over 4 years ago. My family has all participated in the “icebucketchallenge” and love the idea of spreading the work about ALS and the other various diseases. We decided to start a knock off of but for Be The Match called “brainfreezechallenge”. I previously have successfully donated a kidney and more recently registered with and have sent in my cheek swabs to Be The Match. I’m hoping to gain aware and raise money so that you can accommodate all those in need of blood transfusions. Keep fighting and hopefully this gains momentum.

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