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How to Register to Donate Bone Marrow

Wanna be a hero? A real hero? Then put yourself in the position to save someone’s life at a moment’s notice. Just make sure you qualify first.


  • Step 1: Determine your eligibility Make sure you’re healthy and between the ages of 18 and 55.
  • TIP: You can check eligibility criteria in more detail by going to the website for DKMS Americas, a non-profit foundation with the world’s largest Donor Registry. Or call their toll free number, 1-866-340-DKMS.
  • Step 2: Consider your commitment Consider the commitment you’ll be making when you register. Unless you ask for it to be removed, your info will stay on the Registry until you turn 61.
  • TIP: You can always ask to be removed from the registry—but then you might miss your chance to save a life someday.
  • Step 3: Get a Self-Testing Kit Request a tissue-typing kit from DKMS, they’ll mail one directly to your home. Because it costs them $65 to 'type' each donor, they’ll request a donation in that amount to help offset the cost from anyone who’s able, but you don’t have to pay it.
  • Step 4: Fill Out the Form Fill out the 1-page registration form that comes with your kit. DKMS will contact you annually to make sure your address hasn’t changed—but if it does, you could also log onto their site to update your info.
  • TIP: Your information will be entered into the National and International Registries – but it will not be shared with third parties.
  • Step 5: Follow the Instructions Follow the instructions in the kit: swish and swallow water, then swab the inside of your cheek with the two long swabs provided.
  • Step 6: Wait to be contacted Wait to be contacted to become a donor to a patient you match. But be patient! It’s not easy to be someone’s genetic twin.
  • FACT: Every day, 6,000 people search the National Marrow Donor Program Registry for a matching donor.

You Will Need

  • To be an eligible donor
  • A cheek swab
  • A strong sense of commitment
  • A modest fee

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