You may have just the right type of healthy blood-forming cells to save a life of a patient needing a bone marrow transplant or umbilical cord blood transplant (also called a BMT). 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 40 million other potential marrow donors and more than 806,000 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.
*Updated as of April 10, 2023. Current numbers can be found at the World Marrow Donor Association.
How to join the Be The Match Registry®
Be The Match® is focused on recruiting people ages 18 to 40 because medical research shows that younger donors are best for patients and provide the greatest chance for transplant success. Because of this, doctors prefer donors in the 18 to 40 age group. If you 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.
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:
- Complete a questionnaire about your health history, provide your contact information, and sign an agreement to join the registry.
- Consider other ways to help such as volunteering, making a financial gift to the Be The Match Foundation®, or coordinating a drive.
- Give a swab of cheek cells for tissue typing.
To join online, see Join Now.
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.