December 1, 2008
People have been asking me about the registration process.
The United States offers the most flexibility when it comes to finding a way to join the registry. You can register online, go to a donor center, or attend a bone marrow drive, one of the most effective methods of educating potential donors. You must be 18-60 to register or donate.
Unlike Canada and the UK, most people will pay to register. However, if you attend a subsidized bone marrow drive, your insurance policy covers registration, or you are in a minority donor pool, you may pay less or nothing. You can register online for free with DKMS every day, or get costs waived if you have a special code with the NMDP.
It's just a cheek swab to register, but you should be informed about the methods of donation, should you ever be one of the select group to match another person. To find out more:
Go to www.marrow.org
> FAQs About Joining
> Myths and Facts About Bone Marrow Donation
If you are a busy person, set aside between 15-30 minutes, and read information on the site. Use a timer so you get back to the other things you need to do.
How to register online in the United States:
1. Determine if you can be a donor.
Check your eligibility. If you are not eligible, you can still get involved by telling other people about the importance of the registry and why it is important.
2. (OPTION A) Go to www.marrow.org (10 to 15 minutes)
Fill in the online consent form and questionnaire to order your buccal swab kit online.
The questionnaire takes this amount of time so you can understand the nature of your commitment and make an informed decision. Also you will be asked some basic medical questions and about your ethnic background.
You should have your credit card ready, unless you have obtained a promo code which will let you register for free. It costs $52 to cover lab typing costs. There are methods to pay less or nothing, especially if you are in a group that is underrepresented. Contact a donor centre for details.
2. (OPTION B) Go to www.dkmsamericas.org
Email info AT dksmsamericas.org to order your buccal swab kit online.
You can register for free through DKMS. Please be advised that someone else (usually a private citizen) will cover what you cannot pay for. So if you can afford to pay some or all of the cost, pay what you can.
3. When you receive the swab kit at home, follow the instructions in the kit. (5 minutes)
The consists of an envelope with instructions, 4 cheek swabs, stickers with a reference ID, and a postage-paid envelope in which to return your samples.
If you are registering via DKMS, you will be sent a registration form that you must include with the kit, and if you can pay for a part of your lab typing, you should include a donation.
4. Send it back. You're done!
It takes about fifteen to twenty working days to get HLA-typed. Keep your address information up to date whenever you move so you can be found if you are ever needed.
You could be contacted in two months, ten years, maybe never. But if you match someone, you may be able to save someone's life by donating 2 to 5% of the stems cells in your circulating blood or bone marrow.
How To Register in Canada
How To Register in Quebec
Stem Cell Awareness - Why is it important to everyone?
Stem Cell Awareness and the Black community
By the Numbers: Still a State of Emergency