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We’ve started contacting a specially selected group of potential donors on the Anthony Nolan stem cell register about upgrading their lifesaving status. If you’re part of this group, you will have received a text or email from us!

By providing a new swab sample, you can increase your chance getting that call to donate and help patients get their best possible match.

C-M-V. Easy as 1-2-3.

To update your CMV status, all you need to do is:

  1. Fill in the form to order your swab (follow the link in your email)
  2. Complete your swab
  3. Post it back

This simple way of upgrading your lifesaving status can make all the difference to blood cancer patients. So don’t delay, order your CMV swab pack today to take part!


What is 'C-M-V'?

CMV, or cytomegalovirus, is a tricky to pronounce but very common virus. 50-60% of the UK population have it, but most healthy people never realise as their immune system keeps on top of it.

Why is it so important for patients?

A stem cell transplant patient will have a very weak immune system, so finding a donor with a matching CMV status can prevent life-threatening complications. Our research shows that finding a stem cell donor with a matching CMV status can make their transplant three times more likely to work.

What makes a good donor match?

In our recent report into the impact of CMV, patients told us how much a ‘CMV reactivation’, where they received a donation from someone without the same CMV status, impacted their recovery:

‘I think you want to put all your effort into getting better after the transplant, so it [CMV reactivation] felt like a massive backwards step and I was very concerned that I didn’t have much of an immune system, and it was trying to fight this virus…this knocked me for six.’

If you or someone you know has received a stem cell transplant and experienced CMV reactivation please don’t hesitate to contact our Patient Services on 0303 303 0303.

Why are we contacting you?

You’ve been specially selected to update your CMV status because right now, more donors with tissue types like yours are needed for patients.

How is my CMV status tested?

When we receive your completed swabs back in our labs, the swabs are popped into a solution that picks up any CMV indicators off the swab.

These indicators are then loaded into a machine with specific proteins, and a colour change will show the result which is then double checked by a scientist and uploaded onto your record.

Will you tell me my CMV status?

This isn’t a medical test, so we won’t routinely update you on your updated CMV status. This information is for doctors to help choose the best possible match for a patient.

If I come up as a match for a patient, how would I donate?

There are two ways you might be asked to donate: 90% of people donate via their bloodstream and 10% have their stem cells collected via their bone marrow while under general anaesthetic. Watch our donation animation to find out more:

What does it mean if I have CMV?

For most healthy people, your immune system will control the virus - most people do not realise they have it. People with a weakened immune system or women who are pregnant should speak to their doctor if they have flu like symptoms.

You can find out more about CMV on the NHS website at

If you have any more questions about CMV or your status on the stem cell register, please do get in touch by calling 020 7284 8252 or email