Frequently Asked Questions

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What if I’m not sure how to answer a health question?

You can get more information about each health question by tapping on the ? icon. If you still have questions, please call us at 1 (800) MARROW-2 (1-800-627-7692). We’re available to answer your call between 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central time, Monday through Friday. If we’re not available, you can leave a message and we’ll return your call as soon as we can.

How will you use my personal information?

We will only use your personal information for purposes directly connected to your joining the registry. All of your personal information remains confidential.

How long until I am listed on the registry?

When you return your kit, a lab will test your cheek swab sample from your kit. Once the processing of your kit is complete (typically takes two months), you will officially be listed on Be The Match Registry. At that time you will receive your membership card in the mail within a few weeks.

Why is there a need for people to join Be The Match Registry®?

Thousands of patients with blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma, sickle cell and other life-threatening diseases depend on our registry to find a match to save their life.

If I am between the ages of 45 and 60, why is there a cost to join?

Doctors choose donors based on what is best for the patient. Research shows that younger donors provide the greatest chance for transplant success which is why people between the ages of 18-44 are called to donate more than 95% of the time. To most responsibly provide stewardship of our registry and our funds, we must focus on adding registry members most likely to be called to donate to a patient.

What does my payment cover?

The average cost to add a new member to the registry is $100. This includes the cost of the testing  needed to match donors to searching patients and related costs. We rely on financial contributions to help cover the costs of adding new members to the registry. However, there are not always enough funds to cover the total costs for everyone who wants to join. Any amount you give will make it possible for more people like you to join in the future.

If I’m over 60, why can’t I join?

Age guidelines are in place to protect donors and provide the best treatment for patients. As one ages, the chances of a hidden medical problem that donation could bring out increases, putting older donors at increased risk of complications. Research also shows that cells from younger donors lead to more successful transplants.

What is a bone marrow transplant?

Bone marrow transplant is a life-saving treatment for people with blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma, sickle cell and other life-threatening diseases. A donor’s healthy blood-forming cells are given directly into a patient’s bloodstream, where they can begin to function and multiply. For a patient’s body to accept these healthy cells, they need a donor who is a close match.

What is my commitment if I join?

When you join the registry, you make a commitment to:

  • Be listed on the registry until your 61st birthday, unless you ask to be removed
  • Consider donating to any searching patient who matches you
  • 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

Donating is always voluntary. If you decide you don’t want to donate, let us know right away so we can continue the search for another donor without dangerous delays for the patient.

How likely is it that I will donate to someone?

About 1 in 540 members of Be The Match Registry in the United States will go on to donate bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cells. We can’t predict the likelihood that an individual member will donate because there is so much diversity of tissue types in the population. Every person who joins the registry gives patients hope. You may never be a match or you might be one of a number of potential matches. But you may also be the only one on the registry who can save a particular patient’s life.

Can I get tested for a specific patient or family member?

When you join the registry, you are making a commitment to consider donating to any searching patient who matches you. You can request a copy of your own testing results after you join the registry. 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 transplant center or transplant doctor for more information.

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