Who can join the Anthony Nolan register?
To sign up you have to:
Why do you have to be aged between 16 and 30 to join the register?
Statistics show that young people are more likely to be chosen as donors in lifesaving transplants.
Of course, people over 30 can make excellent donors too, and that’s why we ask people to stay on our register until they’re 60.
But younger donors have fewer complications, such as heart disease and diabetes, that would prevent them donating. When every day counts for someone in desperate need of a lifesaving transplant, finding out a donor can’t proceed can waste precious time.
In addition, it costs £60 to add each donor to our register. As a charity with limited resources, we need to focus on recruiting the people most likely to be chosen as donors.
Find out more in our video:
Why do you need more young men to join the register?
We’re grateful to have both men and women aged 16-30 on our register.
However, we particularly need to recruit more young men as they produce more stem cells than women, so are more likely to be chosen as donors.
I’m over 30 and from an ethnic minority community. Surely the chance that I might match someone in need is better than not finding them a match at all?
We are putting huge effort into recruiting young people from ethnic minorities to our register so we can help more people from ethnic minorities find their match.
Putting older people – of any ethnicity – on the register diverts our scientists away from processing the samples of younger volunteers, who doctors are more likely to choose for transplants. That’s why we don’t put any person over 30 on our register.
I’m too old to join the register. What else can I do?
We're really grateful that you want to support us. The good news is you can help Anthony Nolan save the lives of people with blood cancer in lots of other ways.
Find out how you can get involved in our vital work.
Why can’t I pay to be on the register?
Even if someone over 30 is willing to cover the £60 cost of putting themselves on the register, processing that person’s sample would divert our scientists away from examining the samples of a younger person, who doctors are much more likely to choose as a donor.
We could put that person’s £60 to better use. For example, it could cover the cost of putting someone younger on our register.
Why do I have to be willing to donate my stem cells in two different ways?
Nearly 90% of people give their stem cells through peripheral blood stem cell collection. This is a simple process, similar to donating blood.
However, in some situations and for some conditions, a patient will need stem cells from bone marrow. If that’s the case, we’ll ask you to donate bone marrow from your pelvis, which a doctor will take using a needle and syringe.
Please be aware that you must to be willing to donate both ways if you sign up to our register.
I’m already an organ donor. Does that mean I’m automatically on the Anthony Nolan register?
No, it doesn’t. You need to apply to join the Anthony Nolan register separately.
I’m already on the British Bone Marrow Registry. Do I need to join the Anthony Nolan register too?
No. You only need to be on one register as doctors search both for matches.
Is donating painful?
If you donate through peripheral blood stem cell collection, you might have flu-like symptoms over the three days you receive the injections that stimulate your body to release blood stem cells. These usually go away within 24 hours of the last injection.
After a bone marrow donation, you may have some short-term discomfort in your lower back.
Watch our animation to find out more about what’s involved.
Do I have to be dead to donate stem cells?
No. We can only take blood stem cell donations while the donor is alive.
Are there any long-term health risks associated with receiving granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF)?
G-CSF is a naturally-occurring hormone which increases the number of stem cells your body produces.
You’ll need injections of G-CSF for three days if you’re donating through peripheral blood stem cell donation.
Based on available data from healthy people who have taken G-CSF, we haven’t identified any long-term risks.
But we continue to monitor developments in this area. As part of our post-donation assessment, we collect data to establish the long-term effects of G-CSF.
Find out more about G-CSF from the World Marrow Donor Association (WMDA).
What will happen to my stem cells?
A courier will collect your cells and deliver them to the hospital where the recipient is waiting. They’ll usually give your stem cells to the recipient the same day or the day after you donate.
If the recipient’s body accepts them, the stem cells will start making healthy blood cells. You’ve given that person the chance to live – all while you were lying in bed!
Anthony Nolan is linked to other registers abroad. So your stem cells could save the life of someone on the other side of the world.
If I donate, how long will it take my body to replace the stem cells?
After donating bone marrow, your body will begin to replace the cells immediately, with levels going back to normal after an average of 21 days.
With PBSC, your body is stimulated to produce extra stem cells, so your own levels won’t suffer.
If I donate, will the person who gets my stem cells know who I am?
No. You and the person you’re helping will remain anonymous.
We may be able to give you updates on your recipients’ progress. After a two-year confidentiality period, if you both want to, you can get in direct contact with your recipient. You may, however, communicate anonymously with your receipient and Anthony Nolan will channel this communication before the two-year period.
If you know someone aged between 16 to 30 who wants to help to cure blood cancer, why not tell them about our register?
‘I wish I could thank this stranger for saving my daughter’s life. They will never know how grateful we are.’ - Robert Mason, Sorrel's dad