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H H S Department of Health and Human Services
Health Resources and Services Administration
Blood Cell Transplant

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Joining the Registry

You may have just the right type of healthy blood-forming cells to save a life. A patient needing a bone marrow transplant or umbilical cord blood transplant (also called a BMT) has diseased cells. If the diseased cells are not repaired or replaced, the patient may not survive.

The registry of the C.W. Bill Young Cell Transplantation Program, also called the Be The Match Registry® is a listing of potential marrow donors and donated cord blood units. The registry is operated under Federal contracts by the National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP).

When you join the registry, your tissue type is listed with more than 22.5 million other potential marrow donors and 601,000 cord blood units around the world who have agreed to donate their marrow or cord blood and possibly save a patient's life.

A transplant has a better chance of success when the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) tissue type of the marrow donor or cord blood unit closely matches the patient's. HLA are proteins, or markers, that the immune system uses to recognize the cells that belong in the body and those that do not.

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How to Join the Be The Match Registry®

If you are between the ages of 18 and 44 years old, are in good health and willing to donate to any patient in need, you can join the registry online right now. Or, you can join in person at a marrow donor registry drive, which is often hosted by a recruitment or donor center. Be The Match® is focused on recruiting people ages 18 to 44 since transplant doctors request potential donors ages in this age range more than 90 percent of the time. Research indicates that younger donors lead to more successful outcomes.

If you are between the ages of 45 and 60, you are welcome to join the registry online with a $100 tax-deductible payment that covers the cost of adding a new member to the registry.

Once you join, your information is entered into the Be The Match Registry, which is managed by the NMDP.

When you join the registry, you will be asked to:

  1. Complete a questionnaire about your health history, provide your contact information, and sign an agreement to join the registry.
  2. Consider other ways to help such as volunteering, making a financial gift to the Be The Match Foundation®, or coordinating a drive.
  3. Give either a swab of cheek cells or a blood sample for tissue typing.
To join online, see Join Now. exit disclaimer

To find a donor center, recruitment center, or a donor drive near where you live, see Join in Person. exit disclaimer If you are an expectant parent, please see Options for Umbilical Cord Blood.

Your Current Information is Important, Now and Later

When you join, you are agreeing to consider giving your healthy blood-forming cells to any patient, someone whose best chance for survival may depend on you. If your tissue type matches a patient, you will need to be contacted quickly. Therefore, you need to update your information on the registry if:

  • Your phone number, name, e-mail address, or postal address changes.
  • You want to be removed from the Be The Match Registry.
  • Your health changes significantly. For example, you develop heart disease, diabetes, or hepatitis.

If you are already on the registry and need to update this information, see Update Your Contact Information. exit disclaimer