Anyone identifying as any gender or sexuality can join the Anthony Nolan stem cell register and save the life of someone with blood cancer.
Without you, there is no cure.
You can be gay, bisexual, lesbian, trans, pansexual, asexual, straight, or anything in between to join the register and donate your stem cells to someone in need of a lifesaving transplant. Everyone who joins our register goes through the same health and suitability checks – your sexuality or gender identity doesn’t make a difference! You just need to be between 16-30 and in good health.
For someone with blood cancer, an amazing stranger donating their stem cells could be their best chance of survival.
Right now, there's a shortage of young men willing to donate their stem cells. They provide more than 55% of all stem cell donations, but make up just 18% of the register. By letting people with all identities and sexualities know that they can join the register, we can change the stats and save more lives.
It costs £40 to add every single potential donor to the Anthony Nolan stem cell register, so every pound you donate makes a difference.
Here are the facts
- You can join online! You’ll get a pack in the post for you to do your cheek swabs and send back. We’ll test your samples and add your information to the stem cell register.
- We’ll organise the whole thing. We support you at every stage of your donation and arrange everything, from travel to accommodation. We've got it all covered.
- You’ll stay on the register until you’re the grand age of 61. If you ever come up as a match for someone with blood cancer, we’ll be in touch.
There are two ways you might be asked to donate:
- 90% of people donate via their bloodstream in a straightforward process, called peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) collection. Joe, who donated via PBSC, said ‘I was hooked onto the machine for around 4/5 hours so it’s pretty boring! Afterwards I felt pretty tired as you would expect, but felt really good that I had done something good for someone.’
- 10% have their stem cells collected via their bone marrow while under general anaesthetic. After Donna’s donation, she said ‘Bone marrow donating done! I can honestly say it has been an amazing and surprisingly pain-free experience (I am a wimp!). Knowing I’ve given someone a second chance at life is such a fantastic feeling.’
What do real donors say?
'I think the reason so many gay and bisexual men think that they can't join the register is because when you're filling out a medical questionnaire, sexuality normally flags to someone that it's something you shouldn't be doing. I think because gay and bisexual men are used to being left out of something that's quite similar, they expect to be left out of this too.
'The whole donation process was so simple. I travelled down the day before and stayed in a hotel - then the donation itself was literally just sitting in a bed for five hours watching Love Island on TV. I knew before that it was going to be easy and pain free, but it really genuinely is like that.'
- Jon, stem cell donor
Watch our donation animation
This animation takes you through a lifesaving journey - from getting the call if you come up as a genetic match for someone in need of a transplant, to the step by step process of donating your stem cells through your bloodstream or bone marrow.