FACTS FROM BETHEMATCH.ORG
Q: WHY IS THERE A NEED FOR PEOPLE TO JOIN BE THE MATCH REGISTRY?
A: Thousands of patients with blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma, sickle cell anemia or other life-threatening diseases depend on the Be The Match Registry to find a match to save their life. Patients need donors who are a genetic match. Even with a registry of millions, many patients cannot find a match. Donors with diverse racial or ethnic backgrounds are especially needed.
Q: IF I AM BETWEEN THE AGES OF 18 AND 44 WHY AM I MORE LIKELY TO BE CALLED TO DONATE?
A: If you are between the ages of 18 and 44, patients especially need you. Doctors choose donors based on what is best for their patient. When more than one potential donor is a good HLA match for a patient, doctors will also consider other factors, including the donor’s age. Research shows that cells from younger donors lead to more successful transplants. Doctors request donors in the 18-44 age group 90% of the time.
Q: WHY DOES A PERSON HAVE TO BE 18 TO JOIN? CAN'T MY PARENT SIGN THE CONSENT FOR ME?
A: You must be 18 to donate because donation is a medical (for PBSC donation) or surgical (for marrow donation) procedure and you need to be legally able to give informed consent. Since donating unrelated bone marrow is a voluntary procedure, a guardian or parent cannot sign a release or give consent for someone under age 18.
Q: IF I AM BETWEEN THE AGES OF 45 AND 60, WHY IS THERE A COST TO JOIN?
A: Doctors choose donors based on what is best for their patient. When more than one potential donor is a good HLA match for a patient, doctors will also consider other factors, including the donor’s age. Research shows that cells from younger donors provide the greatest chance for transplant success. Eighteen- to 44-year-olds are called to donate 90% of the time. As a non-profit, we must use the funds given to us wisely. We focus on adding registry members most likely to donate to help save the most lives. If you are between the ages of 45 and 60 and want to join the registry, you’re welcome to join online with a $100 tax-deductible payment to cover the cost to join. There are many other ways to support the mission as well.
Q: CAN I STILL JOIN IF I’M OVER AGE 44?
A: Yes. If you are between the ages of 18 and 60, meet health guidelines and are willing to donate to any patient in need, you can join the registry. Everyone on the registry is critical to saving lives. For all registry members, the most important thing you can do is stay committed, so if you’re selected as a match for a patient you’re ready to move forward.
Q:DOES RACE OR ETHNICITY AFFECT MATCHING?
A: Racial and ethnicancestry are very important factors. Patients are most likely to match someone of their own race or ethnicity. Today, there simply aren't enough registry members of diverse ancestry. Adding more diverse members increases the likelihood that all patients will find a life-saving match. Patients especially need donors who are : Black or African American American Indian or Alaska Native Asian, including South Asian Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander Hispanic or Latino Multiple race
Q: IF I'M OVER 60, WHY CAN'T I JOIN?
A: Age guidelines are in place to protect donors and provide the best treatment for patients. As we age, the chances of a complication resulting from any medical procedure increase. Because of this, the upper age limit for donation is 60. It is important to note that the age limit is not meant to discriminate in any way. Additionally, research shows that cells from younger donors lead to more successful transplants.
Q: WHAT IS A BONE MARROW TRANSPLANT?
A: Bone marrow transplant is a life-saving treatment for people with blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma, and other diseases like sickle cell anemia. First, patients undergo chemotherapy and sometimes radiation to destroy their diseased marrow. Then a donor's healthy blood-forming cells are given directly into the patient's bloodstream, where they begin to function and multiply. For a patient's body to accept these healthy cells, the patient needs a donor who is a close match. Seventy percent of patients do not have a donor in their family and depend on the Be The Match Registry to find an unrelated bone marrow donor or umbilical cord blood.