Marrow Cell Donation Eligibility Guidelines

Marrow and PBSC Donation

Eligibility guidelines for marrow and peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) donation were established to protect the health of the potential volunteer donor as well as the transplant recipient. When you volunteer to join the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) Registry as a potential donor, you will be asked a series of questions about your health to help determine whether you meet the donor guidelines below.

The eligibility guidelines below cover many factors that can make a person eligible or ineligible to donate. However, these guidelines do not include every situation that would make a person ineligible to join or to donate. If you are ever called as a match for a patient, you will undergo a thorough health history and physical exam to ensure it is safe -- for both you and the patient -- for you to donate.

For more information about eligibility or to join the NMDP Registry as a potential donor, contact your local donor center or recruitment group.

Eligibility Guidelines

  1. Age:
    All donors must be between the ages of 18 and 44 and in good health.
  2. Weight:

    The National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) has guidelines for a maximum weight for potential donors joining the NMDP Registry. These guidelines have been established to help ensure donor safety.

    The donor weight guidelines state that for donors joining the Registry, the maximum acceptable weight would be a person's weight associated with a body mass index (BMI) of 40*.

    Calculate Your BMI

    *BMI is calculated as the weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters.
    BMI = wt (kg.) / [ht (m)]2 (1 inch = 0.0254m, 1 pound = 0.454 kg.)

  3. AIDS:
    If you have or are at risk for HIV (AIDS), you cannot become a marrow donor.
  4. Asthma:
    Serious asthma (poorly controlled, requiring hospitalization, etc) is not acceptable.
  5. Back problems:
    Back problems (sprains, strains and aches) are common and may not interfere with a marrow donation. Serious back problems, particularly those requiring surgery, may be a cause for deferral. If you have significant back problems - herniated disc problems, for example, consult your donor center.
  6. Blood pressure:
    Elevated blood pressure (hypertension) is acceptable if controlled by medication.
  7. Cancer:
    Cured local skin cancer (only simple basal cell or squamous cell) is acceptable. Cervical cancer in situ is acceptable. All other forms of cancer are unacceptable.
  8. Diabetes:
    Medication-dependent diabetes is not acceptable. Diabetes controlled by diet is acceptable.
  9. Epilepsy:
    More than one seizure in the past year or multiple seizures are not acceptable. Epilepsy controlled with medication, when there has been no more than one seizure in the past year, is acceptable.
  10. Heart disease:
    Prior heart attack, bypass surgery or other heart disease is not acceptable. Mitral valve prolapse that does not require medication or restrictions is acceptable. Irregular heartbeat not requiring medication is acceptable.
  11. Hepatitis:
    Hepatitis B surface antigen is not acceptable. Hepatitis C antibody is not acceptable. Any other hepatitis history must be evaluated early in the actual search process. Hepatitis vaccine is acceptable.
  12. Lyme disease:
    Asymptomatic Lyme disease is acceptable if the donor has been treated successfully with antibiotics. Chronic Lyme disease is unacceptable.
  13. Malaria:
    Malaria more than twenty years ago is acceptable. If the volunteer finished a full course of antimalarial drugs more than six months ago, he or she is acceptable.
  14. Obesity:
    Body Mass Index is used to evaluate weight. Donors may be deferred if obesity presents donation risk. See the Donor Weight Guidelines for more information.
  15. Organ or tissue transplant:
    Heart, lung, kidney, bone or other organ or tissue transplant recipients are deferred.
  16. Pregnancy:
    Marrow cannot be collected at any time during pregnancy. Women who are pregnant are temporarily deferred.
  17. Sexually transmitted diseases:
    Any history of sexually transmitted diseases must be evaluated early in the actual search process.
  18. Tuberculosis:
    Active pulmonary tuberculosis within the last two years is not acceptable.
  19. Immunizations:
    Immunizations are acceptable, excluding investigational vaccines. Some immunizations require a waiting period before joining the Registry.

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