The most important thing you need to do after you’ve joined is to make sure you let us know how to contact you! If you are matched with a patient, it’s possible that this will be years after you joined – so if you move, change your phone number or email address, please go to the update donor details page and let us know.
When you joined the registry you gave us a blood or cheek swab sample, which tells us your tissue type. We use this to identify whether your immune system is compatible with any patients who need a transplant. We also test your sample to identify your blood type and whether you have been exposed to cytomegalovirus (a virus that can cause critical complications in transplants).
When a patient anywhere in the world needs a donor, their medical team will search the de-identified test results of all of the donors on our registry – as well as all overseas registries that we are linked with – to see who is the best match for their patient.
If you match, you will be contacted by ABMDR about the next steps. In Australia, only around 1 in 1,500 donors will be asked to donate stem cells in any year. The pages covering each next step provide further information.
Sometimes, particularly if you joined a while ago, we might need to update your original enrolment test results to make it easier to see if you match any patients. This kind of updated testing can usually done with a simple cheek swab.
Can I donate to a specific person?
Plainly put: no. When you register to become a donor, you do it to save anyone’s life. We understand you might have been driven to join because someone you know is sick. Unless you have the same parents, the chances of you being a match for them are absolutely remote. When you register, you must be willing to help save the life of someone you’ve never met, even someone from another country. You might not save YOUR friend or relative, but you might save someone else’s.