Request a swab kit to register as a potential blood stem cell donor

Will you help us find a match for everyone in need of a potentially lifesaving blood stem cell donation?

To become a potential blood stem cell donor:

  • Check your eligibility and request a swab kit.
  • Complete the swabs we post to you at home and send them back.

Once we receive your swabs, we will analyse your tissue type and add your details on the UK stem cell registry in an anonymised form. Your details will then be part of blood stem cell donor searches for people all over the world who need a genetic match to get a second chance at life.

Check your eligibility

Your age, location and current health status are important. Check to see if you can become a blood stem cell donor.

Your age, location and health are important

See if you are eligible

As a registered donor, you will be on standby to save life.

Do you live in the UK or British Islands?

United Kingdom

DKMS in the UK accepts registrations from the UK, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

Is this your first registration with a stem cell donor registry?

If you are already listed with the British Bone Marrow Registry (BBMR), the Welsh Bone Marrow Donor Registry (WBMDR), or with Anthony Nolan, you should not re-register. We and each of these organisations register donors to one single UK registry.

Please enter your date of birth.

Does your health allow you to register as a donor?

If you have or have had in the past, a chronic or serious condition, or take any medication regularly, please review the list of conditions below, or, for more in-depth information, visit our FAQ's.

If you would prefer to contact us for guidance, please call us on 020 8747 5620 or send an email to donor@dkms.org.uk.

List of conditions

Please select measurement unit and enter your details

You are an eligible donor!

Thank you for checking your eligibility with us.

Please wait while you are transferred to the registration form to request your swab kit.

Thank you for your support.

We can only register people who live in the UK, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

 

You might be able to register with one of our sister organisations below:

or

or you can...

Help us raise funds

Thank you for your support.

If you did register before, you do not need to register again.

 

There are other ways to help.

Help us raise funds

Thank you for your support.

To register as a potential blood stem cell donor, you must be between the ages of 17-55.

 

You can still help in other ways!

Help us raise funds

or

Thank you for your support.

Unfortunately you are not eligible to become a donor.

 

You can still help in other ways!

Help us raise funds

or

Thank you for your support.

To register you must weigh at least 7 stone/13 lbs / 50 kg with a BMI below 40.

 

But there are still many other ways to help!

Help us raise funds

or

 

Does your health allow you to register as a donor?

Before you register, please check that you are able to donate by looking at the list below. Type the name of your condition into the search box and scroll down to see the corresponding results.

  • Addiction (Alcohol, illicit or prescription drugs) The occasional consumption of cannabis does not affect your eligibility to register as a blood stem cell donor.
  • Allergies - Yes, it is possible to register as a potential blood stem cell donor when suffering from an allergy (including food allergies, hay fever or drug allergies), with the exception of severe allergic reactions (e.g. allergic shocks or Quincke's Oedema) in the past. If you have suffered from severe allergic reactions in the past, please contact us via email: donor@dkms.org.uk, or tel: 020 8747 5620, because it may affect your eligibility as a donor.
  • Asthma If you have mild asthma and it is well controlled with any combination of inhalers alone you are eligible to register.  You are not eligible if you were admitted to hospital regularly in the past 2 years due to asthma attacks or require oral cortisone tablets, Montelukast or Theophylline.​
  • Autoimmune diseases, general e.g. psoriasis – yes, it is possible to register as a blood stem cell donor. 
  • Autoimmune diseases affecting a particular organ, e.g. Hashimoto's encephalopathy - No, it is not possible for someone to register as a blood stem cell donor if they suffer from this particular type of autoimmune disease because there is a risk of transmitting the condition onto the recipient.
  • Basal cell carcinoma and cervical carcinoma in situ - Yes, you are able to register if the basal cell carcinoma and cervical carcinoma in situ have been removed completely and the control check-ups since have been without pathological findings.
  • Bipolar/manic affective illnesses – No, If the prospective donor is suffering from a severe psychological illness, it is unfortunately not possible for them to register. There are concerns about many psychotropic drugs, which can cause changes to the blood count. Neuroleptics are especially problematic in this regard, making it impossible to donate blood stem cells.
  • Blood transfusion - Receiving a blood transfusion may not stop you from registering as a potential blood stem cell donor. If you received a transfusion following a one-off loss of blood during pregnancy/childbirth or after the trauma you are fine to register. If you received a transfusion because of a different medical condition, please email us with details about the condition. Regardless of the reason for the transfusion, if it took place outside of Europe, Australia or North America, just let us know by emailing: donor@dkms.org.uk.
  • Borderline Syndrome – No, If the prospective donor is suffering from a severe psychological illness, it is unfortunately not possible for them to register. There are concerns about many psychotropic drugs, which can cause changes to the blood count. Neuroleptics are especially problematic in this regard, making it impossible to donate blood stem cells.
  • Cancer – No, it is not possible for someone who has suffered from a malignant disease in the past to register as a blood stem cell donor.
  • Colitis - No, people with ulcerative colitis cannot register as a potential blood stem cell donor. The restriction is in place to protect the donor as well as the recipient.
  • Crohns - No, people with Crohns disease cannot register as a potential blood stem cell donor. The restriction is in place to protect the donor as well as the recipient.
  • Diabetes Type 1 – No, it is not possible to register donors with diabetes mellitus type 1. The restriction is in place to protect the donor as well as the recipient.
  • Diabetes Type 2 - To be able to register, the condition has to be controlled by diet and there should be no other risk factors such as obesity, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.
  • Diabetes Insipidus - No, it is not possible to register donors with diabetes insipidus. The restriction is in place to protect the donor as well as the recipient.
  • Diseases of the haematopoeitic system (blood disorders) - No, people with diseases of the blood and the immune system cannot register as a potential blood stem cell donor, because the blood stem cells of the haematopoietic system and the immune system are transmitted through the stem cell transplantation.
  • Dyspnoea – No, those suffering from frequent or consistent dyspnoea are not eligible to register as a potential blood stem cell donor.
  • Epilepsy - It is possible to register as long as you have been seizure-free for the past 12 months without needing medication. However, if you are currently requiring medication or have recently had a seizure, then you are unable to register. You are also not able to register if seizures are related to a problem with, or injury to, the brain.​
  • Fibromyalgia - No, people with fibromyalgia cannot register as a potential blood stem cell donor. The restriction is in place to protect the donor as well as the recipient.
  • Generalised Anxiety Disorder – Yes, it is possible to register as a donor if suffering from mild anxiety, if the prospective donor is receiving treatment for a limited amount of time, and feeling well enough to manage everyday life.
  • Grave’s disease or a thyroid carcinoma - No, people with Grave’s disease or a thyroid carcinoma cannot register as a potential blood stem cell donor. The restriction is in place to protect the donor as well as the recipient.
  • Hashimoto's Encephalopathy - No, it is not possible to register as a blood stem cell donor if suffering from Hashimoto's Encephalopathy. 
  • Hashimoto's Thyroiditis - Yes, it is possible to register as a potential blood stem cell donor if suffering from Hashimoto's Thyroiditis if your condition is stable and you are symptom-free. 
  • High Blood Pressure - Yes, you are able to register with high blood pressure because it does not generally affect blood stem cell donation so long as the condition is well-regulated with drugs or through an adapted diet and hasn’t caused any damage to the eyes, heart or vessels.
  • High blood pressure – Yes, you can register with well-regulated high blood pressure, as long as there are no health problems stemming from the condition.
  • Infectious diseases like HIV, Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C, Syphilis - No, people with severe and life-threatening infectious diseases like HIV would not be eligible to register as a potential blood stem cell donor. This is to protect the recipient, especially in cases where complete healing from the disease is not verifiable (e.g. Hepatitis C).
  • Iron deficiency anaemia - For iron-deficiency anaemia, the determining factor is the haemoglobin level. If the level is frequently below 11.5 mg/dl for women and 13.5 mg/dl for men, registration is not permitted. However, if the iron supplement is well-tolerated and the iron levels, as well as the haemoglobin level, are in a normal range, you would still be eligible to register as a potential blood stem cell donor.
  • Major Depression – No, it is not possible to register if the potential donor is limited due to their illness. The donation process can be an additional mental burden that has to be managed on top of everything else. It is not only a question of whether the donor will be able to reliably come to the donation appointment, but also how they can handle the situation after the donation.
  • Minor Depression – Yes, it is possible to register as a donor if suffering from mild depression, if the prospective donor is receiving treatment for a limited amount of time, and feeling well enough to manage everyday life. This applies to blood stem cell donors whose medication contains less problematic substances, such as Citalopram, Venlafaxine or Fluoxetine.
  • Mitral valve prolapse - Yes, people suffering from a mitral valve prolapse can register as a potential blood stem cell donor, as long as there are no health problems stemming from the condition.
  • Pernicious Anaemia - No, it is not possible to register as a blood stem cell donor if suffering from pernicious anaemia. 
  • Psoriasis – Yes, if it is mild/moderate (the classic 'cigarette paper-like' eczema) and is being treated with topical therapy (tar, creams, etc.) or a single course of UV therapy, you are eligible.
  • Psychosis – No, If the prospective donor is suffering from a severe psychological illness, it is unfortunately not possible for them to register. There are concerns about many psychotropic drugs, which can cause changes to the blood count. Neuroleptics are especially problematic in this regard, making it impossible to donate blood stem cells.
  • Rheumatism – No, it is not possible for someone to register as a blood stem cell donor if they are suffering from a rheumatic disease, even if they are not currently experiencing any symptoms.
  • Schizo-effective disorders – No, If the prospective donor is suffering from a severe psychological illness, it is unfortunately not possible for them to register. There are concerns about many psychotropic drugs, which can cause changes to the blood count. Neuroleptics are especially problematic in this regard, making it impossible to donate blood stem cells.
  • Severe heart diseases - No, heart diseases that require treatment or monitoring would not be eligible to register as a potential blood stem cell donor, because they greatly increase the risk of complications during the donation. Those conditions include cardiac dysrhythmia, damage to the vascular walls, arteriosclerosis (especially if medication with anticoagulant drugs is necessary), heart attack, strokes, or structural defects of the heart such as valvar defects.
  • Severe kidney diseases - No, people with chronic kidney diseases, including diseases in the early stages cannot register as a potential blood stem cell donor. There is a risk of further damage to their kidneys during a blood stem cell donation.
  • Severe lung diseases - No, someone with a chronic lung disease, including diseases in the early stages cannot register as a potential blood stem cell donor. There is a risk of further damage to their lungs during a blood stem cell donation.
  • Severe metabolic diseases - No, those with severe metabolic diseases, including diseases in the early stages, cannot register as a potential blood stem cell donor because they might see their condition worsen or lapse during a blood stem cell donation.
  • Severe tropical infectious diseases - No, people with a pre-existing infectious disease cannot register as a potential blood stem cell donor because the disease can be transmitted to the recipient during a blood stem cell donation.
  • Thyroid (enlarged or underactive) - Yes, people with hypothyroidism or hashimoto’s thyroiditis are able to register as a potential blood stem cell donor if they are stable and symptom free, including when taking thyroid hormones or iodine.

How to become a blood stem cell donor

How to become a blood stem cell donor with DKMS
How to become a blood stem cell donor with DKMS

Watch this short video to see what it means to be a potential blood stem cell donor. A five-minute cheek swab will put you on standby to save a life.

Good to know...

  • For many people with a blood cancer or blood disorder a donation from a matching blood stem cell donor is their best chance of survival.
  • Although the donation method used in 90% of blood stem cell donations, Peripheral Blood Stem Cell (PBSC) collection, looks similar to blood donation, blood stem cell donation is different from giving blood. With blood stem cell donation, only stem cells are donated, not blood and matches are determined by tissue type, not blood group.
  • Finding a matching blood stem cell donor can be difficult as matches are determined by HLA typing (tissue typing). There are thousands of different HLA characteristics, in millions of combinations.
  • Your blood stem cells will completely replenish themselves within 2-4 weeks of the collection.
  • Even though there are over 27 million people on the worldwide register, this isn’t enough. Many people in the UK still can't find a suitable matching donor.
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  • When you join the stem cell registry you are on standby to matched and potentially save the life of anyone with a blood cancer or blood disorder who needs a blood stem cell donation.
  • Your blood stem cells will never be stored, they last for around 72 hours and are delivered straight to the person in need by a special courier.
  • You will stay on the register until your 61st birthday!
  • About the collection methods

    Methods of donation

    The odds are, you may never be called upon, but if you are, that’s when you will have the opportunity to give someone else a second chance of life by donating some of your blood stem cells in one of two ways. It's really important to read about the methods used to collect blood stem cells, as you need to be comfortable with doing both.

    Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Collection

    PBSC Donation

    This is when blood stem cells are collected from the donor’s blood stream by removing blood from one arm, running it through a machine that separates out the stem cells, then returning the blood to the donor through their other arm. Around 90% of donations are carried out using this method. This is a non surgical outpatient procedure and takes around 4-6 hours.

    Bone Marrow Collection

    Bone marrow donation

    This is when the blood stem cells are collected from the bone marrow at the back of the hip bone (not the spine). The procedure is carried out under general anaesthetic so that no pain is experienced. The collection itself takes 1-2 hours and most donors return to their regular activities within a week. This method is only used in around 10% of cases.

     

    To ensure that you are able to donate enough blood-forming cells for the transplant, you will receive daily G-CSF injections for four consecutive days before your donation. On the first three days, your injection will be given to you by a nurse at your home or work. The fourth injection will be given to you at the hospital prior to donation. G-CSF (granulocyte-colony stimulating factor) is a naturally occurring growth hormone that stimulates the production of stem cells in the blood of the donor before collection.

    We will provide on-going support after the collection process as we care about the details of your recovery. We will contact you on a regular basis after your donation to check the status of your physical condition and it is also important to contact us directly if you have any concerns, or wish to discuss any symptoms you experience. You should expect a phone call on the day following your donation and then weekly until you report a full recovery. As part of your long-term aftercare, we will be in contact with you on occasion for the next ten years.

     

    You will have a general anaesthetic and may be under anaesthesia for one to two hours depending on the time needed for the collection of the stem cells. The doctor will insert a special needle through two tiny incisions in the skin over the back of the hip bone (not your spine). The incisions are less than one-fourth of an inch long and usually do not usually require stitches. The collection itself takes round about 60 minutes, and you will be positioned lying on your front. Doctors use sterile needles to remove liquid marrow containing blood stem cells, roughly one litre, which is round about 5% of your bone marrow. Two weeks after donation, your bone marrow will have recovered fully, and the hip bone will have fully healed within six weeks.

    We will provide ongoing support and advice as we care about the details of your recovery after the collection process. We will contact you on a regular basis after your donation to ask about your physical condition and it is also important to contact us directly if you have any concerns or wish to discuss any symptoms you experience. You should expect a phone call on the day following your donation and then weekly until you report a full recovery. As part of your long-term aftercare, we will be in contact with you on occasion for the next ten years.

    Can I do more?

    You can support us further too, there are lots of ways you can get involved.

    Help fund the registration of more potential lifesavers.

    Organise a donor drive at work, home or elsewhere.

    Other ways to join the fight against blood cancer.