Swab to be a lifesaver

You’ve never met. But, for someone who’s facing blood cancer, you might just be the most important person in the world.

Every 20 minutes someone in the UK is diagnosed with a blood cancer, such as leukaemia. It’s a devastating diagnosis for anyone affected. But, there’s hope: a potentially lifesaving blood stem cell donation from a genetically similar person.

Only one in three people will find a matching donor within their own family. And so they must find an unrelated donor to have a second chance of life. That’s why we’re here. We find potential lifesavers, like you, and match them to people in urgent need of a blood stem cell donation.

It’s especially hard for people who are black, Asian, or belong to another minority ethnicity to find a match because there are relatively few potential donors of these ethnicities on the UK donor registry.

We’re here to give everyone the best possible chance of overcoming blood cancer. But, whatever your ethnicity, we need your help. Will you go on standby to save the life of someone just like you? Complete our pre-registration check to find out if you could be a potential lifesaver and order your home swab kit today.

Register today. There are survivors because there are lifesavers.

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?

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

Please enter your date of birth.

Have you had any of these conditions?

Check your eligibility

List of conditions

Please enter your details

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You are an eligible donor!

Thank you! You can become a potential donor! That’s it. You’re now on the road to becoming a lifesaving blood stem cell donor.

Thank you for your support.

We can only register people who live in the UK.


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

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!

Thank you for your support.

Unfortunately you are not eligible to become a donor.


You can still help in other ways!

Thank you for your support.

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


But there are still many other ways to help!


Have you had any of these conditions?

Before you register, please check that you are able to donate by looking at the list below.

You will NOT be able to register if you have any of the following conditions:

  • Weight under 7 stone 12lbs/50kg
  • Obesity (i.e. body mass index (BMI) >40) 
  • Severe heart, lung or kidney diseases 
  • Severe illness of the central nervous system
  • Mental Illness
  • Severe metabolic diseases
  • Additctions (alcohol, drugs, tablets)
  • Severe tropical infectious diseases
  • Infectious diseases like HIV, Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C, Syphilis 
  • Systemic autoimmune diseases or other severe chronic illnesses (e.g. diabetes or rheumatism)
  • Cancer (including being cancer-free, but having had cancer in the past)
  • Diseases of the haematopoeitic system (blood disorders)

You WILL be able to register as a blood stem cell donor, without additional consultation, if the following criteria applies to you: 

  • Englarged Thyroid or Underactive Thyroid (Hypothyroidism/Hashimotio's Thyroiditis stable and symptom-free. NOT Graves' disease) 
  • Iron-deficiency anaemia (if treatable with iron supplement) 
  • Hay fever, mild asthma, food allergy
  • Basalioma and cervical carcinomain situ (if  fully removed)
  • Unipolar depression (mild depressio, no previous manic episodes without any limitations in daily life)
  • High blood pressure (stable and well-controlled) 

If you have or have had in the past, a chronic or serious condition, or take any medication regularly, please discuss this with a member of the DKMS UK team for initial guidance by calling us on T:020 8747 5620

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 three-minute cheek swab will put you on standby to save a life.


We’ll send a swab kit straight to your home. When it arrives, please follow the instructions and swab the insides of your cheeks. Then simply seal your swabs in the envelope provided, pop it in the pre-paid return envelope and drop it in the post.

Once your swabs have been returned and your tissue type has been analysed, your details will be placed anonymously on the UK stem cell registry where they will be available for national and international donor searches for people in desperate need.


You can be a lifesaver on standby until you are 61. If you are identified as a potential match for someone, we will contact you to confirm your availability, talk you through the whole process and arrange further tests to check your suitability for the patient.

The process is completely anonymous. However, depending on the patient’s country of residence, and only if both parties agree, a donor and patient may be able to get in touch with each other after two years.


90% of stem cell donations are made via a peripheral blood stem cell collection. Here blood is taken from one of your arms and passed through a machine that isolates some of your blood stem cells. Your blood is then returned to you through your other arm. This method usually takes 4-6 hours.

In 10% of cases, stem cell donation is made via a bone marrow extraction. Here, marrow is extracted from the back of the hip bone (not the spine) under general anaesthetic. This method usually takes 1-2 hours.