Where to get bone marrow match testing?
May 25, 2007 2:47 PM   Subscribe

How do I get tested to see if I am a donor for a friends blood marrow transplant?

I have a friend who is in need of a bone marrow transplant across the country. I would like to go somewhere local to get tested to see if I am a match.

Is there a number I can call that will get me in touch with a center near me for this test? My doctor's office wasn't very helpful...

thanks guys.
posted by TheDude to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Assuming you're in the US, here.
posted by meerkatty at 2:56 PM on May 25, 2007

Before you even bother with that, the first thing to do is to find out his (and your) blood type. If they're different, then you cannot be a marrow donor for him.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 2:58 PM on May 25, 2007

The National Marrow Donor Program actually suggests that they're not the best route if you're only interested in donating to a friend and not joining their database (see here). You will need to have the blood test done privately. For private testing, contact the Transplant Center or the patient's transplant physician for suggestions. Perhaps your friend's hospital has a Transplant Center that you can get in touch with?
posted by wemayfreeze at 3:00 PM on May 25, 2007

I'd say the best starting point is to get in touch with the oncologist who's going to manage the transplant. They likely get this question often. As noted previously, if you're only interested in donating for a friend, you'll have to get HLA typed privately, which may be somewhat costly (on the order of $150-$300 if I'm not mistaken, though perhaps the oncologist may know how to circumvent this) and likely more costly than joining the NMDP. I commend you for wanting to help your friend. Keep in mind though, the odds of being a random unrelated match vary widely but are on the order of 1 in 20,000 or more-- that's why the registry is necessary in the first place. And if you're not a match for your friend, consider the possibility that you can still potentially save another life if you join the NMDP.
posted by drpynchon at 4:33 PM on May 25, 2007

Oh also, what SCDB said was completely incorrect. ABO blood type mismatch is nearly irrelevant, and wouldn't get in the way of bone marrow or stem cell transplantation. ABO-mismatched (but HLA matched) allogeneic transplants are performed regularly.
posted by drpynchon at 4:46 PM on May 25, 2007

What drpynchon said. I did this and was sent specific instructions from the oncologist's office.

And by the way: you are so wonderful for offering to do this! I hope you're a match!
posted by MrFongGoesToLunch at 5:01 PM on May 25, 2007

Since you're considering marrow donation, please consider being willing to donate marrow to anyone who needs it, not just your friend.

If all potential donors adopted this attitude, the chances of your friend receiving a prompt match he could use would be much higher.
posted by ikkyu2 at 7:11 PM on May 25, 2007 [1 favorite]

You won't be a donor for your friend, well at least the odds are something like several million to one. Nevertheless, use this opportunity to get yourself into the database. As more and more friends of people in need of a bone marrow transplant get into the database the chances for those folks actually finding a donor go up. Saving a life, wouldn't that be just about the coolest thing you have ever done?
posted by caddis at 5:11 AM on May 26, 2007

Steven, you're 100% wrong. Blood type isn't one of the antigenic matches that matters in bone marrow transplants; we frequently transplant across blood types.

Re: how to get typed so that you can find out if you can donate, I nth the recommendation that you join the National Marrow Donor Program rather than just get typed for your friend. You can join either via a marrow drive or by requesting a cheek swab kit, and then your info is available in the registry for any physician doing a search for a patient.

And one last plea: if anyone out there is in the registry but either has moved or has different contact info than when you joined, please keep your contact info up to date! There have been potential matches that have gone unrealized because of the potential donor being unreachable... that's a completely avoidable shame.
posted by delfuego at 5:38 PM on May 26, 2007

it can not be stressed enough


you are not going to save someone's life if they don't know where to find you. Do this, please. I know more than one person save this way. Their lives saved. Should be dead, but still alive, just because someone registered here.
posted by caddis at 6:50 PM on May 26, 2007

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