FAQs - Irish Blood Transfusion Service

FAQs

Can I be tested only for someone I know?

No. While you may be motivated to join because of someone close to you, it is important to realise that the IUBMR is an Unrelated Registry facilitating transplants for both Irish and International patients. By joining the IUBMR, you may be selected to help any patient anywhere in the world.

What happens after I have joined the panel?

Your HLA type and details are recorded. You will only be contacted by us if you are identified as a possible match for a patient in need of a transplant.

How are donors selected?

When a patient needs a donor, we compare their HLA type with all the types on the panel.

What happens if I am identified as a possible match for a patient?

If you are identified as a possible match you will be asked to attend the National Blood Centre in Dublin to assess your suitability and give a further blood sample. If the sample shows the level of compatibility is very close and you are medically suitable you may be asked to donate.

What happens if I am asked to donate?

You will be required to attend St James's Hospital for a number of medical appointments to determine your suitability, willingness to donate and answer any questions you may have. Regardless of where your matched patient is, your bone marrow donation will take place in St James's Hospital, Dublin. A date will be determined for the transplant to take place.

How do I donate?

Read about the bone marrow donation process here.

Can I change my mind?

Yes. If you join the Unrelated Bone Marrow Registry, it does not commit you to donate bone marrow and you can withdraw from the panel at any time. However, the decision to become a volunteer requires very serious consideration. Once the patient has started their pre transplant treatment, usually about 10 days before you donate they must have a transplant to survive, it would be very difficult to find another donor at such short notice.

Is there any cost to me?

The IUBMR will aim to cover any loss of earnings and expenses relating to your donation.

What happens after I donate?

You will be deferred from the registry for 6-12 months. At the end of this period you will automatically be reinstated unless you indicate that you no longer wish to remain on the panel. If you are a blood or platelet donor you will be deferred from donating for 6-12 months.

Can I donate again?

Yes. You may be asked to donate stem cells again or other types of blood products for the same patient or you may be approached if matched to another patient. Donating bone marrow or stem cells should not affect your ability to donate for a relative in the future.

Can I contact the patient whom I donate to?

In line with the EU tissue directive the IUBMR is required to maintain strict anonymity between the donor and patient therefore contact is not allowed.  If you request, the IUBMR will provide progress reports on your recipient’s progress if possible.