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Searching for a Match

If you need an allogeneic transplant, the cells you receive will come from someone else. Your doctor will look for a donor in your family who matches your human leukocyte antigens, or HLA, type. These are markers your body uses to know which cells belong in your body and which don't. 

HLA tissue types are inherited, so your best chance of finding a match is with a brother or sister who have the same two biological parents. However, 70% of patients do not have a fully matched donor in their family. If you do not have a donor in your family, your doctor can search for a marrow donor or cord blood unit.

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).

Find more information about finding a donor, including when your doctor may begin to search a listing of potential marrow donors and cord blood units throughout the world. NMDP/Be The Match has agreements with its global partners to provide access to more than 40 million potential marrow donors and more than 806,000 cord blood units within its search system.*

*Updated as of April 10, 2023. Current numbers can be found at World Marrow Donor Association.  

Learn how patients who need a transplant are being given hope by the Be The Match Registry.

It can take a few weeks to a few months or more to find a marrow donor or cord blood unit. However, sometimes a closely matched marrow donor or cord blood unit cannot be found. If your doctor cannot find a close match for you, they will look at other treatment options.

Sometimes, family and friends want to help by adding more donors to the registry. Be The Match can help with donor recruitment efforts.

Host a Donor Drive

Additional Resources

Glossary and the Participating Transplant Centers

List of terms to understand some common terms.

Participating Transplant Centers
List of transplant centers that report data about transplants.

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