If you receive a bone marrow transplant from an unrelated donor on the Be The Match Registry®, you won’t know who your donor is at the time of your transplant.
Over time, you may want to put a name and face to your donor. In some cases this is possible, but you should also be prepared for it not to happen. For many reasons, a donor may not send or respond to letters or may choose not to have direct contact.
- The National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP), which operates the Be The Match Registry, follows strict confidentiality guidelines to protect the privacy of both you and your donor. Transplant centers and donor centers also have confidentiality guidelines.
- During the first year after transplant, some centers allow anonymous communication between you and your donor (see guidelines below).
- Some centers allow direct contact between donors and recipients one or more years after transplant, if both you and your donor consent.
- Some centers do not allow you to have contact with your donor at any time.
Guidelines for anonymous contact
U.S. law and our federal contract require us to have a system to keep donor and patient information confidential. Our post-transplant communication guidelines are a crucial part of this system.
If anonymous contact with your donor during the first year after transplant is allowed, we will help you exchange letters, cards or gifts anonymously. Staff at the transplant center and donor center will check what you send to be sure no identifying details are shared.
Anonymous contact means that you cannot include any information that could reveal your name or location. Play the What Can I Send? game to see if you can pick out what is okay to send and what is not, and see the detailed guidelines below.
|Okay to Send
||Do Not Send
||Names, including initials, nicknames or made up names for yourself, your donor, friends or family
||Your city, state, geographical region or country – including mention of a landmark, such as the Golden Gate Bridge
|Your general profession, such as teacher, but not the name of your employer
||Your specific job title, such as Marketing Representative for Target Corporation
|Description of your transplant experience, without mentioning the name of your doctor or transplant center
||The name, location or number of your transplant center or hospital
||On greeting cards - the name, address, country of the greeting card publisher, a currency (such as dollars) or a barcode
|Small gifts of appreciation
||Gifts of high monetary value or gifts that are easily broken
| Non-perishable food or candy
||Food that can spoil, such as fruit or baked goods
|CDs, tapes and DVDs in the original wrapping with seals unbroken
||Personally mixed or recorded CDs, tapes or DVDs
||Gifts that might imply the location of the sender, such as a CD by a local artist