Joining the register: Frequently asked questions
Why should I join the register?
You may be the only match for someone out there who will die without a donation of healthy stem cells. If you are found to be a match you could save a patient with a life threatening illness such as leukaemia.
What do I need to know before I join the register?
That you will be on the register until you are 60 and you should be fully committed to donating whether it is in 2 years or in 20 years. You should also be aware of the two different methods of donation in case you are asked to donate. Information on these donation methods can be found here.
What happens when I register?
When you are registering you will be asked to fill in some personal details and a brief medical history questionnaire to check that you will be able to donate. Next you will give us a saliva sample that will be used to identify your tissue type. Your tissue type is what determines whether you are a match for someone. All this information will be stored on Anthony Nolan’s confidential database. This database is then searched when a patient is in need of a transplant.
Will I definitely donate once on the register?
There is only a one in a thousand chance that someone that we add to the register will be a match for someone out there, so it is unlikely that you will donate but there is always a chance that you will be a match for someone out there who needs your help.
I cannot give blood can I still join the bone marrow register
It is likely you may be able to as there is different criteria for joining. You can check the medical exclusion criteria to check to see if you can join the register.
I am already on another bone marrow register do I still need to join?
No if you are already on The British Bone Marrow Register or The Welsh Bone Marrow Donor Register then you do not need to join. This is because all three UK registers are searched in order to find a match.
Who can join the register?
To join the register you have to be between 16 and 30. Once signed up you will be on the register until you are 60. You simply need to be in good health and fully committed to donating if you are chosen. However there are some medical exclusion criteria that will prevent you from donating which can be found here.
How do I join the register?
Joining the register is very simple! You can pop along to one of our recruitment events. However if you cannot attend an event, one of our volunteers can meet you in person. Visit our page on joining the register for full details on where, when and how you can join.
Once I am on the register what will happen?
You will remain on the register until you are 60. If you are found to be a match you will be asked to donate. Information on the donation process can be found here. Whilst on the register you should ensure that you update your details so that you can be contacted if you are a match. You can update your details here.
Are there any restrictions to joining the register?
You need to be aged between 16 and 30 to join the register and be living in the UK for the next three years. You also need to be in good health, you can check for conditions that would prevent you from joining here.
I am a gay man can I join the register?
Yes, you can.
Can I be specifically tested for a friend?
It is highly unlikely that you will specifically be a match for your friend. However if you want to help people in a similar situation you can still join the register and encourage others to join. The best hope for your friend lies in the many other potential donors found on the register.