Can I Join the Bone Marrow Registry?

To register to become a bone marrow donor, you must meet the normal eligibility criteria to become a blood donor.

There is also one additional difference regarding age criteria. Whereas you can become a new blood donor up until the age of 65, to become a bone marrow donor, you must be aged between 18 and 45, and be willing to remain on the panel until you are 55

Otherwise the normal criteria for blood donation applies.

You can take our quick blood donor eligibility quiz which covers many of the reasons why someone might be unable to give blood or become a bone marrow donor.

If you are still eligible you can find the next upcoming clinic in your area at find a clinic, or call 1800 731 137 to make an appointment or if you have any further queries.

Maximising patients opportunties to find a matching donor

It is important to note no one can join the Irish Unrelated Bone Marrow Registry for a specific patient. More importantly, you are joining the registry to be available for any patient worldwide. This maximises the chances of all and any patients finding a suitable donor because it sources donors worldwide, rather than just from one country. In addition, be becoming a blood donor as part of the bone marrow registry process, you are helping save lives throughout the Republic of Ireland, and can do so regularly every 90 days after any subsequent blood donation.

What happens on clinic, once I am eligible? 

Once you attend the blood donation clinic, you can inform the staff there that you wish to register also for the Bone Marrow registry, and they will give you the relevant information and take the required blood sample, as part of your normal blood donation process.

So, to summarise

  • Check your eligibility to become a blood donor
  • Call 1800 731137 to make an appointment to attend a clinic (or if you have further questions)
  • Attend for your blood donation appointment at donation clinic as arranged.
  • Complete the Health and Lifestyle questionnaire, including tick the question relating joining the Bone Marrow Registry.
  • Following completion of successful eligibility assessment with one of our clinic staff, an extra tube of blood will be taken at donation for tissue-typing tests.
  • Your information and tissue-type result will be entered into our national database. You are now a member of the Irish Unrelated Bone Marrow Registry.
  • This information will also be entered on the WMDA (World Marrow Donor Association) database which currently has over 38 million donors.
  • If you match a patient, you will be contacted to confirm that you are still healthy and agree to have further testing to confirm the potential match.
  • Your information will remain on the database until you reach the age of 55 years.


How else can I help? Give Platelets!

Many patients who require a bone marrow or stem cell transplant, usually require life saving Platelets too. These are vital components of our blood, different to our red blood cells, which are essential for helping blood cells clot correctly, and are crucial to help patients with Leukaemia and many other blood disorders fight their illness.

The Irish Blood Transfusion Service collects platelets in clinics in Dublin and Cork and are always looking for new donors up to the age of 45. There are a small number of differences to note between blood donation and platelets donation eligibility criteria and you can check out platelets criteria. In particular to note, women who have experienced a pregnancy can never give platelets whereas can give blood once 12 months have expired since their last pregnancy. To book an appointment at a platelet clinic convenient for you, or to ask further queries, please contact 01 4322833 (Dublin) or 021 4807429 (Cork).