Joining the Registry
Donation Process
HLA Typing
Post Donation
Donor Responsibilities
Myths and Facts
Donor FAQs
Technical FAQs
Donor Experiences
Become A Donor
To join the Registry, you need..Read More
About MDR(I)
The MDR(I) is a database of voluntary Donors..Read More
- MDR(I) Registration form
- MDR(I) Donation form

> Frequently Asked Questions  

Q. Who needs a Donor (Allogeneic) transplant?
Answer: Approximately 75% of those needing a Stem Cell transplant have some form of Leukemia. There are a variety of other diseases for which Stem Cell transplantation can be a treatment option. Some of these include: Hodgkinís Disease, Non-Hodgkinís Lymphoma, Aplastic Anemia, Myelofibrosis, Sickle Cell Disease, Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, Multiple Myeloma, as well as many others.

Q. How are Donors and Recipients matched up?
Answer: When an unrelated search for a Patient begins, there may be a number of Donors who match up with the Patient. Some of these Donors will be asked to attend for further tests to check their compatibility with the Patient. Around 40mls of blood will be taken from each potential Donor. Some of this blood will be used to check the Donorís bloodís healthiness and the rest will be used for tissue typing to evaluate how close a match they are with the Patient. The potential Donor who matches the Patient the closest will be asked to donate their Stem cell.
Q. What happens if I am a match for someone?
Answer: If you are a potential match, further testing will be required to determine if you are indeed a match. You will be counseled & provided with more information about the donation process. You will then decide whether or not you are prepared to be a Donor.
Q. How is a match determined?
Answer: When looking for a potential match, six different HLA antigens are examined. HLA stands for Human Leukocyte Antigen. These are protein molecules found on white blood cells. The more antigens that two people share, the better the match. Siblings offer the best chance of finding an HLA match, but there is only a 25% chance that this will happen. In fact, only 30% of those in need find a match through a family member. Being an HLA match is independent of blood type, so it is not necessary to have the same blood type as the recipient. These types of antigens are inherited, so matches are most likely found within someoneís ethnic group. People in need of a transplant with unusual or minority ethnic backgrounds often have a more difficult time in finding a Donor than others.
Q. What can a Donor expect before donation?
Answer: Many Donors describe the pre donation time as exciting. It requires a strong psychological commitment. A thorough physical examination is arranged to ensure that the donation is as safe as possible for both the Donor & the Patient. Those who pass the physical examination are not asked to make any accommodations in diet, work or social habits before donation. However, they are asked to refrain from taking unnecessary risk which could lead to illness or injury during the period the Patient is undergoing pre transplant regimen. Doctors want both the Patient & the Donor to be in best possible physical shape for the transplant.
Q. Who pays for the Donor's expenses when selected for a donation?
Answer: The medical costs are paid for by the Patient or Patient's Medical Insurance, as are the travel expenses & most other non-medical costs.
Q. What about reimbursement & costs to me for registration as a Donor for MDR(I)?
Answer: You will not be paid as a potential Donor.
Q. If I am a Donor for someone, when can I meet them?
Answer: Strict confidentiality is maintained to protect both the Donors & Patient from any unwelcome contact. The Donor may be told the Patientís age, gender & diagnosis but no identifying information. All centers have different policies regarding Patient/Donor contact. Some allow contact if both the parties are willing immediately or after a year. Others provide updates on Patientís condition. Each center may decide on their own system.
Q. Can I be tested to see if I am a match for just one specific person?
Answer: When you register yourself for MDR(I) you are committing to donating to anybody who might need your Stem cell and not only a specific person.
Q. What is involved in the donation process?
Answer: There are two processes through which Stem Cells may be extracted from a Donor: through a Bone Marrow harvest or through peripheral blood apheresis. The procedure used will depend on the Patient, the Patientís illness and the Patientís doctor.
a. Bone Marrow Harvest
This method is used to extract the Stem Cells directly from the Bone Marrow, the spongy substance found inside the bones. The Donor will undergo general anesthesia while the doctor extracts the Bone Marrow from the back of the pelvic bone. The procedure takes approximately one to two hours and may be performed as a hospital procedure. Your Marrow naturally replenishes itself within four to six weeks.
b. Peripheral Blood Apheresis
This method is used to extract the Stem Cells from the blood stream. The Donor must take subcutaneous injections of G-CSF for four to five consecutive days to mobilize the Stem Cells from the Bone Marrow into the blood stream. During the apheresis procedure, blood is drawn out through a vein in one arm and passed though an apheresis machine that filters out the Stem Cells. The remaining blood is returned through a needle in the same or your other arm. This procedure generally lasts three to four hours and may need to be repeated if not enough Stem Cells were collected the first time.
Q. What is the time involvement of donation?
Answer: On average it can take 4-6 hours over two weeks, which includes an information session and medical exam.