Frequently asked questions
This page provides answers to frequently asked questions and explains how you can register with DKMS and potentially become a lifesaver. Our frequently asked questions cover areas such as how suitable donors are found, the blood stem cell collection process and other elements of our work.
About DKMS
What does the abbreviation DKMS stand for?

DKMS stands for ‘Deutsche Knochenmarkspenderdatei’, or German Bone Marrow Donor Centre. Although DKMS was founded in Germany in 1991, we have since extended our mission to Poland, the US, the UK, Chile, India and South Africa. We decided to use the same name everywhere to make us identifiable worldwide as a single organisation. Together we are working towards the same goal; giving as many blood cancer and blood disorder patients as possible a second chance of life.

What job opportunities does DKMS offer?

DKMS is an international charity committed to giving as many blood cancer and blood disorder patients as possible a second chance of life. And in the fight against blood cancer, we are always looking for the best possible people to join our team! You can find out what job opportunities are currently available in the UK team here.

DKMS is active not only in the UK, but also in the US, Germany, Poland, Chile, India and South Africa. Simply head to the DKMS website of your chosen country to find out more about job opportunities in that country.

What is the DKMS Life Science Lab?

Based in Dresden, Germany, the DKMS Life Science Lab GmbH (LSL) is one of the world’s largest and most advanced genotyping laboratories focusing on high-resolution HLA typing for stem cell donor registers.

LSL employs cutting-edge biotechnology procedures. In 2013, for instance, it was the first HLA-typing laboratory in the world to introduce the new NGS technology (Next Generation Sequencing), for high-throughput typing. Today, well over a million potential blood stem cell donors a year are typed using this procedure.

From the outset, LSL has aimed to incorporate the latest scientific findings and developments into the standard typing process. This has led to the typing profile being extended beyond the standard HLA characteristics to include a number of additional parameters (e.g. ABO, RhD, CCR5, KIR, HLA-E, MICA/B, and CMV IgG).

When time is of the essence, HLA typing is the best and quickest way to check whether – and how well – a potential blood stem cell donor matches a blood cancer patient. Thanks to our high-quality typing, search times have decreased and the chances of a successful transplant have increased.

Attached to the DKMS Life Science Lab are a clinical laboratory for patient-based typing or confirmatory typing (CT), and a clinical search unit accredited by the ZKRD (German National Bone Marrow Donor Registry). For more information please visit DKMS Life Science Lab.

How is DKMS funded?

DKMS is a charity and not-for-profit organisation. We are funded via two main sources of income:

  • The fees we are able to charge to transplant centres and/or healthcare providers to cover the medical, transport and administrative costs we incur in assessing matched blood stem cell donors and arranging for the donation and transport of their stem cells to a transplant patient.
  • The charitable donations and gifts we receive from individuals, companies and grant-making trusts and foundations in order to support our work. We use these donations to cover the costs of registering new potential blood stem cell donors via the despatch, return and analysis of buccal swab kits. Full details of DKMS’ income and expenditure can be found in our annual statutory accounts.
About blood cancers and disorders
Chemotherapy as the chance of a cure

Most types of blood cancer can first be treated with chemotherapy, the aim of which is to simply destroy the cancer cells. Other forms of treatment can be used as well, such as radiation or antibody therapies, or a blood stem cell transplant.

Blood stem cell donation as the last chance

For many patients, a blood stem cell donation is their last chance to beat blood cancer. These patients need a matching donor whose tissue characteristics (HLA characteristics) should match those of the patient 100 percent, if possible. To prepare for the transplant, the patient undergoes chemotherapy to suppress their own immune system, which helps to ensure the body does not reject the donation. After the transplant, the immune system gradually rebuilds itself.

Chemotherapy

With chemotherapy, the patient is given so-called cytostatic drugs to inhibit cell division and destroy the cancer cells. The treatment is performed in a hospital over several cycles, with drugs administered on one or more days followed by a break for the body to recover before the next cycle begins. The drugs can be given in the form of tablets, an injection, or an infusion.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy is used to specifically target tumours. The radiation is similar to that in X-rays but considerably higher-energy, which works by damaging the genetic makeup of the cancer cells. This stops them from dividing even further and kills them off. The process also affects healthy cells, but these can regenerate later on.

Antibody therapy

Antibodies are generated by immune cells in the body. They work by recognizing surface structures (antigens) of pathogens and attaching themselves to them. Any cells that are flagged in this way are identified by other immune cells as hostile and destroyed. More and more blood cancers can now be treated with artificially produced antibodies — especially non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), but also chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL). They work on the basis of a 'lock and key' principle: the available antibodies are the key and work only on cancer cells with a matching lock, or antigen. If lock and key don’t match, the therapy will not work.

Blood stem cell transplant

For many blood cancers, transplanting healthy blood stem cells is one possible form of treatment — and often the only chance of a cure. Whether or not a patient can undergo a blood stem cell transplant and what method would be used, depends on numerous factors including their particular diagnosis, age and state of health.

There are three different types of transplant: autologous, allogeneic, and syngeneic.

An autologous blood stem cell transplant uses the patient’s own stem cells, which are harvested from the blood and cleared of cancer cells. The patient is given chemotherapy, and their stem cells are returned to the body.

An allogeneic stem cell transplant uses the blood stem cells of a related or unrelated donor with the closest possible match of tissue characteristics.

A syngeneic transplant is the rarest form of stem cell transplant, as it involves using the cells of identical twins.

Matching donor

One crucial factor in the success of a blood stem cell transplant is the degree of match between the tissue characteristics (HLA) of donor and patient. Tissue characteristics are protein structures on the surfaces of all cells and occur in different combinations in every individual, much like fingerprints. The immune system recognizes from these protein structures whether or not a cell belongs to its own body. If it does, the cell is left intact. If not, it is destroyed. That is why it is essential to find a donor whose HLA characteristics match the patient’s as closely as possible. This way, the new immune system that develops from the donor’s stem cells will accept the patient’s own cells.

Because tissue characteristics are inherited, the best chance of finding a match between donor and patient is within families. Parents are normally only haploidentical, or ‘half-matching’ donors, as a child inherits half of its tissue characteristics from the mother and half from the father. The highest probability of a match is between siblings, which is why they are the first family members to be tested as potential donors.

If there are no matching donors in the patient’s family, the search continues with an attempt to find a compatible unrelated donor. Around the world, over 36 million people have now chosen to register as potential blood stem cell donors, over 10 million of which are within DKMS’s worldwide database. If no suitable donor is found there, the search is extended internationally.

Who can become a donor?
Who can register as a potential blood stem cell donor?

If you are aged between 17 and 55 years and in general good health, then you may be able to register as a blood stem cell donor. If you register when you are 17, you will not be able to donate blood stem cells yet, but on your 18th birthday, you will automatically be activated in our database and included in the global donor searches.

If you have previously registered with DKMS or another donor centre, there is no need to do so again, as you will already be available for searches worldwide. If you have been diagnosed with any chronic or serious illnesses (whether current or in the past), please check with us before signing up.

Key conditions that do not prevent you from becoming a blood stem cell donor:

Enlarged or underactive thyroid, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (You must be stable and symptom-free, even if you are taking thyroid hormones or iodine. However, you cannot donate if you have Graves’ disease)

An enlarged thyroid gland is often caused by a lack of iodine (iodine deficiency goitre), but it can also be attributed to a lack of thyroid hormones – because a thyroid gland forms increasing amounts of tissue as it attempts to compensate for insufficient hormone production. If you do not have any symptoms and your thyroid medication is properly balanced, there is no reason you cannot become a blood stem cell donor.

If the hypothyroidism is caused by thyroid surgery, there is also nothing to prevent you from joining our register — unless the intervention was for Graves’ disease or a thyroid carcinoma.

If the hypothyroidism is caused by an autoimmune disorder of the thyroid gland (Hashimoto’s thyroiditis), you may only be able to donate blood stem cells via a bone marrow collection from the pelvic bone. This point will be clarified if you are identified as a possible match for a patient.

If the hypothyroidism is caused by something other than a pre-existing thyroid condition, you can still sign up as a donor.

Morbus Hashimoto is one of the few autoimmune diseases that are not a major problem in blood stem cell donors. However, the thyroid gland must be properly regulated with medication. In addition, some people with the disorder may at times only be able to donate through a bone marrow collection from the pelvic bone. This point will be clarified as soon as you are identified as a possible match for a patient.

Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disorder of the thyroid gland that causes excessive thyroid production (hyperthyroidism). This can be problematic for both donor and recipient.

High blood pressure (stable and well-regulated)

As a rule, high blood pressure is not an issue when it comes to donating stem cells — but it must be well regulated by diet or medication, and not have damaged the eyes, heart, or blood vessels. If your blood pressure is well-regulated, you can register as a blood stem cell donor.

Hay fever, slight asthma (without attacks), food allergies

Allergies (including food and medication allergies, and hay fever) are not a problem for potential donors — unless they have previously experienced severe allergic reactions (e.g. allergic shock, Quincke’s edema). Please advise us if you have had severe reactions, as it could affect your suitability as a donor.

Unipolar depression (no impact on managing day-to-day life)
As with many other conditions, what matters is the severity of the depression or anxiety. The first thing to do is to find out whether the condition restricts you in any way, and check your general resilience — because donating blood stem cells is an additional mental strain for donors.

The question here is not so much whether a donor will reliably show up at the stem cell donation centre but whether they can handle the situation afterwards. After all, donating stem cells effectively means you gain a severely ill ‘blood relative’, and many of our donors are very concerned about the wellbeing of their recipient.

The use of psychotropic drugs also poses a particular problem, as they affect the blood count. Neuroleptics especially will prevent you from becoming a potential blood stem cell donor. Other conditions precluding registration as a stem cell donor include mental illnesses requiring treatment, such as severe depression, borderline syndrome, and any form of psychosis, schizoaffective disorder or bipolar/manic affective disorder.

Slight depression that requires only limited treatment is not an issue, as long as the donor feels fit enough to cope with everyday life. Anyone medicating with less problematic ingredients, such as Citalopram or Fluoxetine, can also still sign up as a blood stem cell donor.

Iron-deficiency anaemia (treatable with iron supplement)

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, this does cause problems for donors and registration is not permitted. However, if the iron supplement is well-tolerated and the iron level, 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.

Basal cell carcinoma and cervical carcinoma in situ

Basal cell carcinoma and cervical carcinoma in situ do not affect your eligibility as a blood stem cell donor, if they have been removed completely and the control check-ups since have been without pathological findings.

The reason for this is that in the cases of basal cell carcinoma and cervical carcinoma, it is not expected that the cancerous cells will spread (metastasizing).

Who is NOT ABLE TO register as a blood stem cell donor?

Obesity, body mass index (BMI) > 40 (BMI=weight/height²)

To register with us or to donate blood stem cells, your body mass index (BMI) must not be over 40 – for various reasons.

For people in general good health, donating blood stem cells does not have any significant risks. However, for people with additional risk factors, there may be some health concerns. Unfortunately, obesity is one such risk factor.

Severe obesity poses a problem because it leads to a degree of risk for the donor with both types of blood stem cell collection procedures. Not only is the anaesthetic risk higher with bone marrow donations, but with peripheral blood stem cell collection, it is also difficult to gauge precisely how much medication is needed, which may increase the chances of side-effects.

The health and safety of our donors is our number one priority and the weight limits are in place purely for the protection of our donors.

Severe illnesses of the central nervous system or mental illness

The eligibility of a potential blood stem cell donor depends on the severity of the depression/anxiety. First of all, the question is whether or not the potential donor is limited due to their illness and how resilient they are in their everyday life. The donation process might be an additional mental burden, which has to be managed on top of everything else.

It is not only the 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. Even though they may be strangers, donors and recipients share a unique connection and many donors really worry about the recipient of their donation.

There are also concerns related to many psychotropic drugs causing changes in the blood count. Neuroleptics are especially problematic, making it impossible to donate blood stem cells. If suffering from severe psychological illnesses, it is unfortunately not possible to register as a donor. Those illnesses include severe depression requiring treatment, borderline syndrome, any form of psychosis, schizo-effective disorders, and bipolar/manic affective illnesses.

It is possible to register as a donor if suffering from a “mild” depression, receiving treatment for a limited amount of time, and feeling well enough to manage everyday life. This applies to donors whose medication contains less problematic substances, such as Citalopram or Fluoxetine.

Systemic autoimmune diseases or other serious chronic diseases (e.g. diabetes, rheumatism)

If you have diabetes mellitus type 1, registering as a potential donor is unfortunately not possible due to health concerns for both you and the potential recipient.

Blood stem cells are a part of the immune system, which means that a donation from a type 1 diabetic could mean that the condition is passed on to the recipient. As the patient’s health is already compromised, it is difficult to predict how their condition might develop. Serious complications would be likely to occur.

In addition, increased blood sugar levels may already have damaged the donor’s nerves and blood vessels to varying degrees, and donating blood stem cells could compromise their health even further.

With diabetes mellitus type II, or type 2 diabetes, some cells become resistant to insulin. This prevents them from absorbing sufficient glucose from the bloodstream. Increased blood sugar levels may already have damaged nerves and blood vessels to varying degrees. Donating blood stem cells could compromise their health even further – so again, we cannot include anyone with type 2 diabetes as a potential blood stem cell donor.

Rheumatoid conditions, even when there are no symptoms, are another factor preventing people from registering. They include rheumatoid arthritis, Bekhterev’s disease, and juvenile arthritis, all of which are autoimmune diseases and therefore mean that unfortunately you cannot register as a blood stem cell donor.

A stem cell transplant involves the transfer of cells from the immune system, and if the donor’s immune system is damaged, it will have adverse effects on the recipient, compromising their health.

Rheumatism

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. Rheumatic diseases include rheumatic arthritis, Bekhterev´s disease, and Juvenile Arthritis. The reason for excluding people suffering from those conditions is that they are autoimmune diseases.

During the stem cell transplantation, cells of the immune system are transmitted into the recipient, leading to a risk of a possible negative reaction in the body of the recipient. Because the recipient is already physically burdened due to their disease, the chemotherapy in preparation for the transplantation, and the transplantation itself, a negative autoimmune reaction could potentially be fatal. This is why it is not possible to donate blood stem cells and therefore to register as a blood stem cell donor if suffering from autoimmune diseases.

Cancer (including former patients who have been given the all-clear)

Unfortunately, anyone who has previously had a malignant condition is not able to donate blood stem cells.

If you have ever had a malignant growth (or, to be more precise, one that is not specifically benign) you cannot donate blood or stem cells — no matter how long ago the illness was or how successful the therapy was.

Addictions (alcohol, drugs, medications)

Occasional marijuana/cannabis consumption is not an issue – although the emphasis here is on the word ‘occasional’.

This is in part because regular drug use raises the question of reliability. It is not that a donor who takes drugs would be any more likely to suffer any complications, but unreliability is extremely problematic. The timing and scheduling of blood stem cell donations and transplants is crucial to the survival chances of the patient.

For you to register, we need to know what drugs you take and for how long you have been taking them. If you have been consuming them for a long time, it might be better not to register, but if you are ready and able to quit, then you are welcome to join us as a potential blood stem cell donor.

Severe cardiovascular diseases

High blood pressure that is successfully regulated or a mitral valve prolapse with no further symptoms do not affect your ability to become a blood stem cell donor. The same goes for people with an unusually high or low resting pulse rate: as long as it is regular, that is all that matters.

However, with most other cardiovascular conditions, requiring treatment or monitoring, the risk of complications when donating blood stem cells is significantly higher. This means that anyone suffering from conditions such as cardiac arrhythmia, damaged vascular walls, arteriosclerosis (especially if blood thinners are needed), heart attacks, strokes, or structural damage to the heart (such as valve defects) is not able to register as a potential blood stem cell donor.

Another factor that would definitely prevent you from donating blood stem cells is frequent or prolonged breathlessness.

If you are being treated for any other conditions, please contact us to check if you can still become a blood stem cell donor.

Severe lung diseases

For someone with a chronic lung disease, including diseases in the early stages, there is a risk of further damage to their lung during a blood stem cell donation. Autoimmune diseases also carry the risk of transmitting the condition onto the recipient. Many lung diseases also increase the risk associated with general anaesthetic. Those suffering from a frequent or consistent dyspnoea are not eligible to register as a potential blood stem cell donor.

Severe kidney diseases

For people with chronic kidney diseases, including diseases in the early stages, there is a risk of further damage to their kidney during a blood stem cell donation. Autoimmune diseases also carry the risk of transmitting the condition onto the recipient.

Severe metabolic diseases

Those with severe metabolic diseases, including diseases in the early stages, might see their condition worsen or lapse during a blood stem cell donation. Especially problematic are metabolic diseases that have already caused consequential damages, e.g. damages to the vessels.

Severe tropical infectious diseases

Every pre-existing infectious disease can be transmitted onto the recipient during a blood stem cell donation. This is also the case if the donor does not have any symptoms because their immune system has been able to control the disease. However, the patient does not have a working immune system at the time of the transplantation so they are not protected from infectious diseases.

Factor V Leiden

If you have a heterozygous Factor V Leiden mutation (APC resistance), you can join our register – as long as it can be confirmed that you do not have any further clotting disorders or an increased risk of thrombosis linked to smoking, the contraceptive pill, being overweight etc. and you have not previously suffered from thrombosis.

If the mutation is homozygous, unfortunately we cannot allow you to register as a donor.

Infectious diseases such as HIV, hepatitis B or C, syphilis

If you have a serious, life-threatening infection such as HIV and if there is no way of proving that you are fully cured (e.g. hepatitis C), we cannot allow you to donate blood stem cells, primarily for the protection of the recipient.

Disorders of the blood or immune system

Disorders of the blood and immune system are problematic because blood stem cells for transplantation come from the blood-forming and immune systems. To minimize the risk to recipients, both of these systems should be working as normally as possible. When blood stem cells are transplanted, acquired disorders can potentially be transplanted with them, as the cells for transplant contain mature cells of the immune system. In addition, some blood disorders can pose an increased risk to the donor: problems with clotting factors, for example, can cause thrombosis or bleeding.

Where do I have to be a resident to register with DKMS UK?

DKMS UK accepts registrations from the UK (the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland), the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

Can I register if I live outside the UK and British Islands?

You must permanently live in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man to register with DKMS UK, but you can register as a potential blood stem cell donor in other countries. In addition to the UK, DKMS also registers potential blood stem cell donors in the US, Germany, Poland, Chile, India and in South Africa. If you live outside of these countries, you can see if there is a registry in your country on the World Marrow Donor Association (WMDA) website.

How old do I need to be to register as a blood stem cell donor?

Anyone between the ages of 17-55 and in general good health can register to become a blood stem cell donor. If you are 17, you can complete the registration process, but will only be added to the registry after your 18th birthday.

Why is there an upper age limit of 55?

The upper age limit is in place to protect the safety of the donor and to provide the best possible treatment for patients. Younger people are more likely to be chosen as donors and are less likely to have health issues that could cause complications with donating. With age there is also an increase in risk from anaesthesia.

Does a donor have to have the same blood group as the patient?

For blood stem cell transplants, what matters is not so much the same blood group but the best possible match between the tissue characteristics from the donor and patient. A perfect match is very complicated to find and much like looking for a needle in a haystack. When blood stem cells are transplanted, the recipient acquires the same blood group as the donor.

At most, your blood group would be an additional factor in your selection.

I've received a blood transfusion, can I still register?

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 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.

I take regular medication, can I still donate?

This very much depends on your medication. If you’re thinking about registering and you’re unsure about whether you can donate while taking your medication, please contact our medical team on info@dkms.org.uk. If you’re already on the registry and you’re identified as a potential match, we will conduct a health screening to determine what medication you are on and whether you can still donate while on this medication. We will never ask you to stop taking your medication to donate.

What if I am pregnant – or become pregnant?

You can register as a potential blood stem cell donor even if you are pregnant, as long as you meet all of the other requirements. Please let us know if you are pregnant and when your due date is.

You will be blocked from donor searches during your pregnancy, until six months after your due date. After that, we will include you in searches again unless you instruct us otherwise.

Can I register while breastfeeding?

You can register as a potential blood stem cell donor while breastfeeding, however you will need to be deactivated on the register until you have stopped. It is best to wait until after you have stopped breastfeeding before registering as a potential blood stem cell donor.

If you are pregnant or have recently given birth and are not breastfeeding, then you need to wait until six months after your baby is born before you can register.

Can I donate blood stem cells from umbilical cord blood?

Yes, you can donate blood stem cells from umbilical cord blood, however, Aat DKMS UK, we are not set up to collect stem cells from cord blood. If you are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant and would like to donate cord blood, you can do so through the NHS Cord Blood Bank. Otherwise, if you haven’t already and are willing and able to, please register as a potential blood stem cell donor with us.

Can I register to donate if I'm gay, lesbian or bisexual?

Yes, your sexuality does not affect your blood stem cell donor eligibility.

I have a latex allergy, can I still use the swabs as part of the registration process?

The mouth/cheek swabs that we send you when you register do not intentionally use or have any latex component added during the manufacturing process. However, there is a possibility that the sterile packed swabs contain residual latex or a latex component. If you have a latex allergy, we recommend that you consult your GP or medical consultant before taking a mouth swab.

If I register with DKMS, will I automatically be tested for HIV?

No. When you register, we analyse your tissue characteristics so they can be matched with patients in need of a stem cell transplant. We do not check for any infections other than cytomegalovirus (CMV). If you are identified as a match for a patient, we will carry out a health assessment with you that checks for specific viruses and infectious diseases such as HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C. This is to ensure that any such viruses or infectious diseases are not passed onto the transplant patient in need of your blood stem cell donation.

Why is DKMS keen for people from different ethnicities to sign up?

Tissue characteristics vary from person to person. They also vary between ethnicities. So when it comes to finding a matching donor, a person’s ethnic background is important. Blood cancer, on the other hand, can happen to anyone. So we need as many people as possible with the widest possible variety of genetic characteristics to register on our database. A donor with the same ethnic background as a patient may be a better match than one who comes from an entirely different background.

If you register with DKMS as a potential blood stem cell donor, one of the questions we ask you will be about your ethnic background. This information allows us to better organise our database. This could make it easier and faster for doctors to search for a matching donor for their patient.

I'm already registered with another donor centre. Should I register with DKMS as well?

There is no need to register twice. If you are already listed with the British Bone Marrow Registry (BBMR), the Welsh Bone Marrow Donor Registry (WBMDR) or with Anthony Nolan, then you are already registered on the UK National Registry. This means your donor details are available for global donor searches so you will not need to register again with DKMS. There are still plenty of other ways that you can join our fight against blood cancer. Find out how to get involved.

COVID-19 questions
Can I register to donate if I develop COVID-19 symptoms or test positive for COVID-19?

Yes, but you will need to wait until after you have finished your self-isolation period and are symptom free to complete your swabs. According to current government guidelines, your self-isolation period includes the day your symptoms started (or the day you had a test, if you did not have any symptoms) and the next 10 full days.

Can I register if I’ve been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace?

Yes, but you will need to wait until after you have finished your self-isolation period to complete your swabs. According to current government guidelines, your self-isolation period includes the day you were last in contact with the person who tested positive and the next 10 full days.

Can I register to donate if I’ve had COVID-19?

Yes, but you can only complete the swabs once you no longer have COVID-19 i.e. after you have finished your self-isolation period and you are symptom free. According to current government guidelines, your self-isolation period includes the day your symptoms started (or the day you had a test, if you did not have any symptoms) and the next 10 full days.

Can I register to donate if I’ve had a COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes, you can register. If you are identified as a match for a patient, we will discuss your vaccination status with you before you donate.

Can I have a COVID-19 vaccine if I’m about to donate?

Donors are required to wait between 2-4 weeks from the date of their vaccine before donating so it’s important that we know your vaccination status before you donate. The length of time that you have to wait depends on the type of vaccine you’ve received. This is in line with UK medical guidelines for stem cell donors.

If you have been selected as a donor, your DKMS coordinator will be in touch to discuss your vaccination status with you before your donation goes ahead. If there is a change to your vaccination status or your appointment dates for your vaccination change, please contact your DKMS coordinator to let them know.

What should I do in the run up to my donation to avoid catching COVID-19?

In the run up to your donation we ask that you take extra precautions to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19 or coming into contact with someone with coronavirus. This is both for your own health and to minimise disruption to your planned donation.

Although most restrictions on social distancing in the UK came to an end in July, due to the nature of your donation, you will need to continue to adhere to comprehensive social distancing for 10 days prior to your donation. This will also apply for the period when you receive your G-CSF injections (if you are donating by the peripheral blood stem cell method).

Comprehensive social distancing in the run up to your donation includes:

  • HANDS - wash your hands regularly.
  • FACE - wear a face covering at all times when mandatory, and indoors where social distancing may be difficult, and/or you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.
  • SPACE - Stay 2 metres apart from people not in your household or bubble wherever possible.
  • Avoid socialising outside your home (e.g. in bars or restaurants) with people from outside your household or bubble. You can still see people indoors within your household or bubble. You can still visit the shops for essential purposes, but, where possible, limit your visits.
  • Limit your use of public transport to essential travel only (an example of which is travelling to your medical assessment and donation). When travelling, always wear a face covering and aim to keep a distance of 2 metres from others.
  • Work from home if possible. If you cannot work from home, your workplace must be COVID secure, meaning your employer has taken measures to ensure staff members are at least 2 metres apart.

Government guidance can and does change, so please try to keep up to date with any announcements and we will try to notify you of any relevant updates as soon as possible.

What is DKMS doing to keep donors safe during the pandemic?

The health and safety of our donors is our highest priority. We follow advice from Public Health England and NICE and review our policies and processes regularly. Our guidance is in line with that of the other partners in the UK aligned registry and we follow global guidelines from the World Marrow Donor Association.

Every precaution will be taken at our collection centres to minimise the risk of exposure and to keep the area COVID-free, which includes staff wearing appropriate personal protective equipment. You will also be asked to wear a face covering throughout your donation.

Will I be tested for COVID-19 before my donation?

Yes, before you donate we will arrange for you to have a PCR test for COVID-19. The tests will take place at different intervals as follows:

  • On the day of your medical assessment.
  • Approximately 72 hours before you are admitted to the hospital for your donation.
  • On the day of your donation.

In some cases, you may also be required to have an additional COVID-19 test as well as the tests mentioned above, between your medical assessment and the donation. If this is the case, your DKMS coordinator will be in touch.

What should I do if I experience COVID-19 symptoms before my donation?

Please get in touch with your DKMS coordinator as soon as possible. Please also make sure you follow government guidelines around self-isolating and arrange to take a PCR test as soon as possible. You can read the latest guidance on the government website.

What should I do if I test positive for COVID-19 before my donation?

You will need to get in touch with your DKMS coordinator soon as possible and make sure you follow government guidelines around self-isolating. You can read the latest guidance on the government website.

If you have a confirmed COVID-19 infection, a blood stem cell donation will not possible until 28 days after the infection has passed.

What should I do if I’ve been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19?

If anyone in your household or place of work starts to show COVID-19 symptoms, or you are told that you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive, please get in touch with your DKMS coordinator as soon as possible. Please also make sure you follow the latest government guidelines around self-isolating.

I risk possible infection day in, day out because of my job. Can I still move forward with the donation process?

You can still move forward with the donation process even if you run a higher risk of being exposed to COVID-19 due to your job e.g. you work in healthcare or hospitality. However, it is important that you inform your DKMS coordinator as soon as possible if you develop any COVID-19 symptoms such as a high temperature, a new and continuous cough and/or a loss of smell or taste. Please also inform your coordinator if you have been in close contact with someone who has been confirmed to have or is suspected of having COVID-19.

Will I be able to bring someone along to the collection centre on the day of my donation?

Unfortunately you are not allowed to bring anyone into the collection centre with you due to COVID-19. This is because hospitals are limiting the number of visitors to their sites. This is for your own safety as well as the protection of staff and other donors. We recommend you bring your phone and charger so friends and family can keep you company virtually.

About the registration process
What does the registration process involve?

When you register to become a blood stem cell donor, we will send you an email confirming next steps and a swab pack in the post. Your pack should be with you within 4-6 working days.

Once you receive your pack, you will need to follow the instructions to complete the swabbing. Next, post your swabs back to us using any Royal Mail postbox. If you are able to use a priority postbox that would be great as it means your pack will get to us even quicker. Find your nearest priority postbox.

We will email you to let you know when we’ve received your pack. We will then send your swabs to our laboratory for processing, which can take 6-8 weeks.

As soon as your swabs are processed and you have been added to the register, you’ll receive an email with your digital donor ID card. In this email, you’ll also find a link to our social media resources so you can share the good news and inspire even more lifesavers-in-waiting.

How do I register from another country?

DKMS also registers potential blood stem cell donors in the US, Germany, Poland, Chile, India and South Africa. If you live outside of these countries, you can see if there is a registry in your country on the World Marrow Donor Association (WMDA) website.

When will I hear from DKMS about my registration?

You’ll receive an email from us shortly after requesting a swab pack. Be sure to check your junk folder, as sometimes they end up there! You should then receive your swab pack in the post within 4-6 working days of registering. Once you’ve returned your swabs, we will email you to let you know that your swabs have arrived. We will then email you 6-8 weeks later once your swabs have been processed and you have been added to the DKMS register.

You may receive updates from time to time about the work we are doing and, if you are identified as a potential match for someone in need, our team will be in touch using the contact details you provided at registration. It’s really important that you keep your details up to date for this reason. If they should change at all, please update your details here.

When will I receive my swab pack?

You should receive your swab pack in the post within 4-6 working days of registering. If you haven’t received your pack within 10 days, please email info@dkms.org.uk and we will send you another one. Please include your full address with your request.

How long will it take to be added to the register once you receive my swabs?

Once you’ve returned your swabs, we will email you to let you know that your swabs have arrived. We will then email you 6-8 weeks later once your swabs have been processed and you have been added to the DKMS register.

How can I obtain my HLA tissue type or profile?

If you contact our Data Management team on donor@dkms.org.uk, they will be able to arrange this for you. You can find out more about HLA tissue typing here.

How do I know that my data is secure?

DKMS treats the collection, processing and storage of the personal data and information of all its registered blood stem cell donors, supporters and stakeholders with the utmost care, consideration, seriousness and responsibility. We are committed to full compliance with all relevant data protection legislation and guidance, including the UK General Data Protection Regulation.

We work to clear and robust data and information standards and security protocols to ensure that your data is accurate, safe and secure. We process only the data and information we need, store it securely, ensure it is accessed or handled only by those staff or third parties that need to see and retain and dispose of it in line with agreed data retention schedules, based upon need for the data or national and international regulation. We pseudonymise any data that is used in the search and matching process for blood stem cell donation, including HLA tissue characteristics, age, biological sex, etc. This means that doctors and transplant centres searching the database for a matching donor are only able to see this information.

Where we work with third parties for the purposes of fulfilment, regulation or the search and match process for national and international stem cell donations, then we work with only trusted partners and under legally binding and regulatory compliant data sharing agreements. We will never sell your data to third parties.

For more information on how we look after your personal data, please see our Data Protection Policy and our Privacy Notice.

Waiting to be matched
How does the search for a blood stem cell donor work?

Looking for a matching stem cell donor is like looking for a needle in a haystack. When a blood cancer or blood disorder patient depends on a blood stem cell transplant to survive, they need a donor whose tissue characteristics are a 100 percent match, if possible. Search requests are sent to the National Registry, and if a potential donor is found on the DKMS database, to match the patient, we will be informed and we will then contact the donor immediately.

Four in ten patients in the UK and four in ten patients worldwide, still do not find a matching donor. That is why we need as many people as possible to register as a blood stem cell donor.

Another problem is that even if a matching donor is found, they simply might not be available to donate at the specific point in time.

How will I be told if I'm a potential match?

As soon as you are identified as a potential match, we will contact you via phone, text, email and send you an information and health assessment pack in the post. Time is of the essence at this stage, so it’s really important that we have the right contact details for you. If any of your contact details change, please let us know by filling out the Update Details form on our website.

How likely is it that I will be called up to donate?

Finding a matching donor for a patient is rare, and the chances for a match will vary from individual to individual, depending upon factors such as age, biological sex, whether or not we know a person’s CMV status, and their phenotype.

Matches are determined by HLA typing (tissue typing) and there are thousands of characteristics in millions of combinations, so it’s a bit like finding a needle in a haystack. That’s why we need to register as many potential blood stem cell donors as possible.

Currently we know that for DKMS’ registered donors in the UK, there is a 1 in 800 chance that you will be matched with a transplant patient and donate your stem cells.Finding a matching donor for a patient is rare, and the chances for a match will vary from individual to individual, depending upon factors such as age, biological sex, whether or not we know a person’s CMV status, and their phenotype. .

Matches are determined by HLA typing (tissue typing) and there are thousands of characteristics in millions of combinations, so it’s a bit like finding a needle in a haystack. That’s why we need to register as many potential blood stem cell donors as possible.

Currently we know that for DKMS’ registered donors in the UK, there is a 1 in 800 chance that you will be matched with a transplant patient and donate your stem cells.

When will I receive my DKMS donor card and what do I need it for?

When you join the DKMS register as a potential blood stem cell donor, your swabs will be sent to our laboratory [PJ1] for testing. This process can take 6-8 weeks from when you send your swabs back. Once your swabs have been processed, your details will be added to the DKMS register and you will receive your digital donor card.

On your digital donor card, you will find your personal donor number. Please keep your donor number handy so that if you ever need to contact us, you can quote your donor number and we can quickly access your details.

Once you’ve received your card, you can use our social media resources to share the good news and inspire more lifesavers-in-waiting.

How many years will I be on the donor registry for?

You will remain on the registry until you are 61. The upper age limit is in place to protect the health of the donor and to provide the best possible treatment for patients. Younger people are more likely to be chosen as donors and are less likely to have health issues that could cause complications with donating. With age there is also an increase in risk from anaesthesia.

Please let us know if your name, address, contact details or registered GP change during this time. You are welcome to get in touch with us on info@dkms.org.uk if you have any questions about the details that we currently have on record for you.

How can I update my details?

If your details change there is no need to register again, simply update your details here.

It’s important to keep your details up to date so we can quickly reach out to you if you are matched with a patient. Please help us by ensuring you use a personal email address and phone number (not work, school or university). If you are a student using a non-personal email address such as a college or university one, it is really important to update your address when you move or finish college or university in order for you to continue being a registered donor.

Please get in touch with us on info@dkms.org.uk if you have any questions about the details that we currently have on record for you.

Making a blood stem cell donation
What is confirmatory typing?

“Confirmatory typing” or “CT” is the phrase or acronym or acronym used for the health and medical assessment process that is carried out when you are selected as a potential match for a blood stem cell patient. A key part of this process is to confirm that your registered HLA tissue typing taken at the time you first registered as a donor is actually correct (hence “confirmatory typing”) as this is of fundamental importance for a successful match. However, there are other aspects of the confirmatory typing process. Before any donation takes place, you will be asked to fill out a detailed health questionnaire so we can make sure early on that you are still suitable as a donor. You will then be asked for a blood sample, which can be taken by your regular GP or at a local hospital. Your sample will then be sent to one of our labs so your tissue (HLA) characteristics can be analysed. Your blood will also be checked for other infections such as HIV or hepatitis viruses. The results of your blood tests will be shared with the patient’s medical team and used to decide whether you are the best possible match for the patient.

How long after confirmatory typing does it take to find out if I'm the best match?

It’s difficult to have an exact timescale, and so we allocate three months from the date of your blood draw appointment to allow the patient’s medical team enough time to have all matched donors tested and for the patient to begin their treatment ready for the transplant. If you have been identified as a match and you have any questions, you can call our medical team on 020 8747 5660 with your donor ID ready so we can give you more information.

When will my donation take place?

It’s difficult to have an exact timescale, and so we allocate three months from the date of your blood draw appointment to allow the patient’s medical team enough time to have all matched donors tested and for the patient to begin their treatment ready for the transplant. We will aim to give you as much notice as possible if you are selected to donate. If there are any important dates when you know you cannot donate, we will always try to accommodate your schedule if you let us know in advance.

How is blood stem cell donation different to blood donation?

Donating blood stem cells is similar to giving blood in 90% of cases. However, whether a donor and a patient in need of a blood stem cell transplant are a suitable match is decided on the basis of their human leukocyte antigen (HLA) type (tissue type), rather than on the basis of their blood type.

When you register as a potential blood stem cell donor, you complete a cheek swab which is then analysed at our lab to establish your tissue type. If your tissue type matches that of someone in need, we will be in contact as soon as possible – you could end up saving someone’s life!

What is a peripheral blood stem cell collection?

In about 90% of cases, stem cells are taken from the bloodstream. This procedure does not require anaesthetic or admission to hospital. During the collection, a sterile needle will be placed into a vein in each of your arms. Blood is drawn through one vein and passed through a machine that collects the stem cells, before the rest of the blood is returned to the body through the other arm. It is very similar to a dialysis and it is normally completed within 4-6 hours. Most donors complete their donation in one day, but occasionally you will need to come back the following day to complete the donation. We will book you in for two days just in case.

For the four consecutive days leading up to the donation, a growth factor called G-CSF, which is naturally present in the body, is injected into you (either through self-injection or by a registered nurse) . This is required in order to increase the number of stem cells in the blood. You may experience some temporary discomfort (for example headache, body ache, fatigue) while you are receiving G-CSF. These symptoms usually disappear within a day or two of the donation and you can take non-aspirin products (such as Paracetamol or Ibuprofen) for relief from the discomfort.

What is a bone marrow collection?

In about 10 percent of cases, bone marrow is collected from the pelvic bone under a full anaesthetic using a thin, sterile needle. As a rule, two small incisions at the back of the pelvic bone are all that is required. The riskiest part of the procedure is essentially the anaesthetic. About 5 percent of the bone marrow is removed, which the body fully regenerates. Some donors experience localised pain from the incision, which often feels like bruising. The donor spends 3 days in hospital. On the first day you check in, on the second you have the procedure, and on the third you are discharged.

Will my blood stem cell donation hurt?

This varies from person to person. If you are donating via a peripheral blood stem cell collection, you will receive injections of a growth factor called G-CSF for the four consecutive days leading up to your donation. The G-CSF injections can cause some temporary discomfort for example headache, body ache and fatigue. These symptoms usually disappear within a day or two of the donation and you can take non-aspirin products (such as Paracetamol or Ibuprofen) for relief from the discomfort. The donation itself involves having a sterile needle placed into the vein of each arm, which may cause some discomfort depending on the donor.

If you are donating via a bone marrow collection, you will be given a general anaesthetic before the operation so shouldn’t feel any pain. After the operation, you may experience localised pain from the incision, which often feels like bruising. You may also feel nauseous as an after-effect of the general anaesthetic.

Will I permanently lose my blood stem cells?

The body reproduces the blood stem cells within about two weeks. The procedure of donating them is comparable to a blood donation, and does not lead to a permanent loss of stem cells.

Can I donate blood stem cells more than once? Will I be asked to donate again?

Some people donate blood stem cells more than once, either to the same patient or to a different one. If you have blood stem cells removed, new ones will be generated to replace them, in much the same way as your blood is replaced when you make a blood donation. So it is possible to donate more than once. However, to minimise the strain on donors as much as possible, we limit the number of times a donor can donate to no more than twice for either peripheral blood stem cell collections or bone marrow collections.

Can I donate blood in the run up to a blood stem cell donation?

If you are identified as a potential blood stem cell match for someone, we ask that you do not donate blood from the time of confirmatory typing (shortly after you are identified as a potential match) until 6 months after a peripheral blood stem cell donation and 12 months after a bone marrow donation.

Will I have a sick certificate to cover my time off for the donation? How do most employers react?

We do not issue Fit Notes or sickness certificates, however we can provide a letter with information about your donation for your HR department. In our experience, the vast majority of employers respond positively to the news that one of their staff is being invited to donate blood stem cells. If your wages are not covered by your employer, DKMS has a financial assistance programme that deals with compensation for loss of earnings. Our financial assistance programme can also be accessed by donors who are self-employed.

Will I be compensated for the time I take off work? What if I'm self-employed?

Whether your time off work is counted as sick leave, paid leave or unpaid leave depends on your employer. We are happy to provide a letter with information about your donation for your HR department if required.

If your wages are not covered by your employer, we have a financial assistance programme that deals with compensation for loss of earnings.

We can reimburse loss of earnings of up to £200/day. Our financial assistance programme can also be accessed by donors who are self-employed. If you are found to be a match and qualify for assistance, your DKMS coordinator will provide more information on this.

Who will cover the cost of my blood stem cell donation?

There will be no cost to you. When a donor is matched with a patient, DKMS covers the costs including any travel, meal or accommodation expenses. DKMS also covers the costs for a companion to travel with you to the hospital (please note that at present your companion cannot come into the hospital due to COVID-19). A donor’s own health insurance will never be used.

While it is extremely rare to require follow up care, if it is ever needed, the costs will also be covered by DKMS. Other than that we are not legally allowed to make any payments or rewards for the provision of human tissue, including bone marrow or blood stem cells for transplantation.

How far will I need to travel to donate?

We currently have two specialist donation centres; one in London and one in Sheffield. We appreciate that some donors may have to travel quite a distance to reach these centres, which is why we are working on setting up more centres across the UK. In the meantime, please rest assured that your travel expenses and any other costs associated with donating will be covered by DKMS. We also cover the cost for a companion to travel with you to the donation centre.

As a donor, how am I insured?

DKMS has insurance policies in place that cover its donors and members of the general public. Our insurance policies for donors cover medical accidents as a result of the stem cell donation process, including trips to and from the collection clinic. Please contact your DKMS coordinator for more information.

Can I withdraw from making a donation if I have already agreed to make one?

When you’re identified as a match for a patient, you may withdraw from making a donation at short notice for personal or other reasons. Please note that we respect your decision, regardless. However, if you withdraw shortly before the actual transplant, the doctors will have already started the patient’s preparation phase for the blood stem cell transplant, which leaves the patient in a vulnerable state. It is therefore important that you discuss any concerns you may have about your donation with your DKMS coordinator as early on as possible.

Who is my patient? Can I meet them?

The blood stem cell donation and transplant is intended to be confidential and anonymous, as far as identification is concerned between the donor and the patient. This is set out legislation and standards. However, if the patient’s country of residence allows it, we can request an update on their state of health at least three months after the transplant was carried out. We will be in touch after your donation to find out if this is something you would like us to do. In our experience, there is no way of knowing how long it will take for a reply to reach us.

National guidelines stipulate that donors and patients may only meet in person two years after the donation. In the meantime, donors can contact patients anonymously, sending letters via DKMS if this is permitted by the patient’s country of residence. Some countries outside of the UK do not allow any contact at all. For privacy reasons, DKMS has no direct contact with patients and often only has minimal influence on the forwarding of mail to patients. We depend on the support of the hospital treating the patient. Since patients often receive further treatment from another clinic or hospital after the transplant, delays can occur.

If allowed by the patient’s country of residence, donors and patients can write to each other directly or meet in person at the end of the two-year period of anonymity. This is mediated by DKMS, provided both parties agree. In our experience, many donors and patients want to get to know each other and often form lasting friendships. Meeting in person is a momentous and often very moving experience.

If you have any other questions, our Donor-Patient Contact Team will be happy to help. Please get in touch on followup@dkms.org.uk

Fundraising questions
Why is DKMS asking for money?

Every 27 seconds someone, somewhere in the world is diagnosed with blood cancer. This is a heartbreaking statistic and we want to do all we can to help. We believe that nobody with a blood cancer or blood disorder should die because they are unable to find a matching blood stem cell donor.

That’s why we need to raise funds to continue our work registering as many potential blood stem cell donors as possible. Each new registration costs us £40 and, as a charity, we rely on the generosity of the public to cover this cost. Every penny donated to DKMS goes towards registering even more lifesavers-in-waiting.

What will DKMS spend my money on?

As an international charity supporting people with blood cancer, our mission is to give as many people as possible a second chance of life. Your generous donation will be used to cover the cost of registering new potential blood stem cell donors. It costs us £40 to find and register each new donor so your support really could save a life. Your donation will also help cover the cost of regularly updating donor details so that we can find them as quickly as possible when they’re needed. In the search for a match for a patient, every minute counts.

You can see how we raised and spent our money to support people with blood cancers or blood disorders by viewing our annual impact reports and statutory accounts.

If I donate money, will I get a receipt/confirmation?

We always make every effort to acknowledge and thank everyone who donates to DKMS. If you donate online we will send you a transaction confirmation email shortly after you make your donation. If you donate £40 or more via post or by BACS transfer we will endeavour to send you a letter of acknowledgement unless you ask us not to. If funds have been raised by a community or corporate fundraiser, we can send a thank you certificate to the organiser by email or by post.

Auction payments, donations and ticket payments relating to one of our charity events (such as our annual gala) will be fully acknowledged as outlined in the specific terms and conditions of that event. If you use a third-party platform to donate, you will be thanked by the platform on behalf of DKMS and in accordance with data protection legislation.

There may be other occasions where you have donated to DKMS, directly or indirectly, and we are not aware that this has happened. We are truly grateful for every donation we receive, and we will make every effort to thank and acknowledge everyone who has donated to us. If you don't receive an acknowledgement and would like one, please contact Lucy.Jones@dkms.org.uk.

How can trusts give to DKMS?

Please contact Caroline Richardson on Caroline.Richardson@dkms.org.uk for more information.

I want to raise money for DKMS, do you have any ideas?

Whether you love getting active, performing music, whipping up a storm in the kitchen or getting bendy at yoga, our Fundraising Team can help you turn your passion into a great fundraiser. For more ideas and information visit our dedicate Do your own thing webpage or contact us on fundraising@dkms.org.uk

Can I organise my own fundraising event?

Yes, you can! Whatever you’re up to, the DKMS Fundraising Team is here to support you. If you already know what you’re doing, why not go ahead and set up an online fundraising page. For more information about holding your own event, visit our dedicate Do your own thing webpage.

Can I do a sponsored challenge for DKMS?

Yes, you can! Take a look at our fundraising events page to find out what challenges you can take part in. If there’s a particular challenge you want to take on and you can’t see it there, please contact communityevents@dkms.org.uk and we’ll see what we can do!

How do I create an online fundraising page? Does all the money come directly to DKMS?

You can set up your DKMS fundraising page here using a website called Enthuse. All money raised through Enthuse comes straight to DKMS, so you don’t need to worry about collecting or paying in anything. Enthuse charge a small processing fee (1.9% + 20p per transaction) to ensure your payment is safely processed.

How can I get materials to support my fundraising event?

Please send us a message using our online form to let us know what you’re up to and we’ll be in touch about fundraising materials.

I am celebrating a special event (wedding, birthday, anniversary) and want to raise funds for DKMS.  How can I do this?

Congratulations and thank you for thinking of DKMS on such a special occasion! Find out more about supporting us at your special event here. For more information about supporting us at your wedding, you can visit our dedicated weddings page.

How can my company support DKMS?

There are many ways companies can support DKMS and raise vital funds to help save lives. Charity of the Year partnerships, match funding employee donations, payroll giving, cause related marketing and making donations in lieu of client Christmas gifts and cards are just some of the ways that companies can get involved. Find out more.

DKMS also works with companies to create mutually beneficial purpose driven partnerships, as well as offering them the opportunity to become members of the exclusive DKMS £2K Club.

Get in touch with us on corporates@dkms.org.uk. We would love to hear from you!

How can I pay in the money I have raised for DKMS? 

You can either send us a cheque in the post or make a bank transfer.

Cheques: Please make your cheque payable to ‘DKMS Foundation’ and send it to us at the address below with a note about how the money was raised:

Fundraising Team, DKMS

Ashburnham House

Horticultural Place

Castle Row

Chiswick

W4 4JQ

Bank Transfer: Bank transfers can be made directly into our account using the below details. Please use your surname as a reference if possible.

The account details are:

DKMS Foundation, Barclays Bank PLC

Sort code: 20-35-93

Account number: 73395413

If you would like to use a different method of payment, please email fundraising@dkms.org.uk or phone 020 8747 5656.

How can I make a donation in the memory of someone?

Thank you for thinking of DKMS at this very difficult time and choosing to remember someone special in such a meaningful way. We know how hard this can be and we have tried to make it as straight forward as possible to make a donation on our website.

Or, if you would like to set up a tribute page, organise a funeral collection or take part in a fundraising event, please contact Georgina by phoning 020 8747 5656 or emailing georgina.brookes@dkms.org.uk.

I have a collection from a funeral.  How can I send it to you?

It’s best to put the money into your own bank account and then make a donation either by sending in a cheque or making a bank transfer.

Cheques: Please make your cheque payable to ‘DKMS Foundation’ and send it to us at the address below with a note about how the money was raised:

Fundraising Team, DKMS

Ashburnham House

Horticultural Place

Castle Row

Chiswick

W4 4JQ

Bank Transfer: Bank transfers can be made directly into our account using the below details. Please use your surname as a reference if possible.

The account details are:

DKMS Foundation, Barclays Bank PLC

Sort code: 20-35-93

Account number: 73395413

If you would like to use a different method of payment, please email fundraising@dkms.org.uk or phone 020 8747 5656.

I made a donation online and I am not sure it went through.  How can I check?

You should have received a receipt by email, but if you didn’t or you are at all concerned about your donation please get in touch with us on fundraising@dkms.org.uk.

How can I support DKMS with a regular donation? 

You can make a regular donation either monthly, quarterly or annually by setting up a direct debit online.

How can I increase or cancel my direct debit? 

To make changes to your direct debit, please email fundraising@dkms.org.uk.

Volunteering questions
Why volunteer for DKMS?

People volunteer for many different reasons such as meeting new people or gaining new skills or experience. Many of our volunteers decide to support DKMS UK as the result of a personal connection to a blood cancer patient or having been a patient themselves. Whatever your reason, we would love for you to join us!

How much time do I need to give?

Whether you’re able to donate a few hours a week or a few hours a year, there may be a role for you! If you are interested in volunteering with DKMS UK and would like to discuss your options, please contact us on volunteering@dkms.org.uk.

Some roles include expected time commitments, while others can be one-off for a specific period of time. Expected time commitments are listed within the Volunteer Role Description for each volunteer role.

What skills, qualifications and experience do I need?

No specific qualifications are needed to volunteer with us. Expected skills and experience are contained within the Volunteer Role Description for each volunteer role.

How do I find out what roles are available near me?

Our volunteer opportunities are listed here. You can also get in touch with us at volunteering@dkms.org.uk.

Will I need references?

Yes, we will ask you to provide details of two referees. Referees can be friends, colleagues or neighbours, but not a family member. They must be at least 18 years old and should have known you for at least six months. Each referee should be willing to provide us with a reference and know that we will be contacting them.

Will my expenses be reimbursed?

We’ll pay for all of your reasonable out-of-pocket expenses, including travel and lunch, however, we cannot pay childcare expenses. If you would like to find out more about expense, please contact the Volunteer Manager at volunteering@dkms.org.uk.

Will you provide me with a reference?

Once you’ve been volunteering with us for six months, we’d be happy to provide you with a character reference.

There are so many ways to get involved and support our mission.

You could help to raise awareness, join the register, or take on a fundraising challenge.
An updated version of this page is available.