Picture by Staff: Andy Stenning..Stem cell donor Luke Munro meets Olly Walls, the little boy saved by his cells.

Getting in touch with your donor

After a stem cell transplant, some people really want to get in touch with their donor. Others prefer not to, and that’s ok too.


The rules for contacting donors are set by the country they are from and vary from country to country. So unfortunately, it might not be possible to contact your donor.  

Before the transplant

You won’t know the name of your donor and you can’t have any correspondence with them before your transplant. You might be told their age and gender – and in some cases, which country they’re from – but it varies between transplant centres.

After your transplant

For the first two years after your transplant, you may be able to exchange anonymous letters or cards with your donor to say thank you or tell them how the transplant went. You don’t have to do this, and your donor doesn’t have to reply.

Your first letter

You won’t know your donor’s contact details, so your letter will need to be passed on by the team at your transplant centre. Even though Anthony Nolan has facilitated your transplant, our donor follow-up team doesn’t have access to your personal details. However, any letters you want to post after the first one can be sent through us.

Direct contact with your donor

After two years, if you and your donor agree, you may be able to have direct contact: exchanging names, contact details and perhaps meet in person. As the patient, it’s up to you to suggest this if you want it to happen. It usually follows a period of anonymous contact.

Direct contact must be two years after your last transplant or donor lymphocyte infusion (DLI) and you should be in good health. Your transplant centre will need to confirm that they are happy for this to go ahead so speak to your team when you are ready. We can speak to them for you if you prefer.

If you’re under 18, a parent or legal guardian can contact your donor on your behalf.

If your donor is from outside of the UK

Our page on international donors explains how their location might affect how you can contact them.

Writing to your donor

Our Writing to your donor page has advice on what you can and can’t say to your donor.

Information published: 23/12/21

Next review due: 23/12/24