Myths, Facts & FAQs



“There are so many treatment options available for patients with blood cancers - and barely anyone has blood cancer.

Every 3 minutes someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer or disorder.

“Donating bone marrow is scary and painful.”

Media have portrayed bone marrow donation as something scary.

Side effects or discomfort vary from person to person and may include back pain, fatigue, headache, or bruising for a few days or weeks.

The vast majority of donors say it was worth it to help save a life, and that they would do it again. A number of our donors went on to donate multiple times for the same or a different patient.

“I heard donating weakens your immune system.”

The number of cells donated during a PBSC donation does not weaken your immune system. Most donors are back to their usual routine in a few days.

Only 1-5% of your marrow is needed and your marrow naturally replaces itself within 4-6

“I am not physically strong or healthy enough to donate.”

Your health will be assessed prior to dona-tion to make sure you are healthy enough to donate. There are two ways you can donate and while you may not be able to donate bone marrow due to anesthesia risk to your health (for example), you may be able to donate blood stem cells.

“I can’t afford to pay and my insurance will not cover it.”

Donors never pay for donating and are never use their personal insurance for donation expenses. Be The Match covers travel, meals, and hotel for donors and one companion.

“I don’t have time to donate.”

Total time it takes for a donation is 20-30 hours over a period of 4-6 weeks. We will also work with you around your schedule as much as possible to minimize the disruption to your personal and professional life.

“I am LGTBQ+

We don't ask about your sexual orientation. Members of the LGTBQ+ community can join the registry and donate. Your health and eligibility for donation will be assessed in the same was as any other potential donor’s.

“I am concerned about my privacy and the security of my personal heath data including any genetic information.”

Your data are held in a secure database at the Be The Match registry and there are specific rules to protect your privacy. You data are not shared with any companies or government agencies. Information about your genetic type and the stored sample from your cheek swab are identified by code and stored separate from your personal identifying information.

My family doesn’t want me to donate.”

We encourage you to discuss your decision with your family as soon as you decide to join the registry. If called for further testing or to donate, we encourage you to include your family in the information sessions we conduct and to ask as many questions as you or your family need to make an informed decision. We can also connect you with a previous donor who can address your concerns.

“Why does it matter if I am ethnically diverse?"

Patients are most likely to match someone of their ancestry. Adding more ethnically diverse members increases the variety of tissue types available, helping more patients find the match they need.

“There will be other matches for this patient.”

Depending on your and the patient’s genetic makeup, including race and ethnicity, you may be the only option for a transplant for this patient.

Where can I donate?”

We work with you to find the donation location most convenient for you. In the New York area, our partner facilities are located Manhattan, Long Island, Stony Brook, Westchester, and New Jersey. If you joined in the NY area and have since moved, we will transfer your file to the donor center nearest you.

“Can I get updates on how my recipient is doing? Can I meet my recipient?"

Many of our recipients are located outside the US and the rules for exchange of information between donor and recipient vary by country. In the US, anonymous exchange of information between the donor and recipient is allowed in the first year following the donation. After the first year, if both parties agree, they can exchange personal information and meet if they wish. We try to facilitate the meetings depending on the location of both the donor and the recipient.

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