Donate Bone Marrow

The HLA Registry at Community Blood Services

From its inception, the mission of The HLA Registry has been to help patients with leukemia, aplastic anemia, and other potentially fatal blood diseases in their searches to find unrelated, compatible donors for lifesaving bone marrow stem cell transplants. Thanks to the combined efforts of The HLA Registry and many caring people, the donor center is responsible for registering more than 230,000 potential donors in its database and facilitating more than 1,500 bone marrow and stem cell transplant.
The HLA Registry is one of the largest non-governmentally operated donor centers in the United States as well as the only donor center based in New Jersey. It is a member of the National Marrow Donor Program’s (NMDP’s) Be The Match Registry. The NMDP is a network of donor centers and hospitals, both domestic and international, which help patients in need of transplants.
Be the match

The HLA Registry actively recruits donors from all over the United States and, in particular, from the northeastern region of the country. Donors with diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds are especially needed. All donors recruited through The HLA Registry automatically become part of the Be The Match Registry’s database which can be accessed by doctors and patients in need worldwide. Once the member is matched to a patient, the caring and knowledgeable staff at The HLA registry guide the donor through the next steps toward their generous, lifesaving donation.

If You Are a Match

To decide if you are perfectly compatible with the patient, you will undergo additional blood and tissue tests, and receive a complete physical examination to make sure you are well enough to donate. You will also be thoroughly informed and counseled about the process of donation and your options as a donor.You will not choose the method of collection. The patient’s doctor will decide what method is best to treat the patient’s specific condition. The cost of additional testing, counseling and collection of your blood stem cells will be paid for by the patient’s insurance. As a donor you will contribute time and a little bit of yourself to save a life.

If you are a perfect match with the patient, are in good health and consent to donate, we will ask you to donate blood stem cells in one of two ways:

At a local hospital, a doctor will remove marrow from the back of your pelvic bone using a special needle and syringe. You will be under either general or local anesthesia during the procedure. The amount of marrow needed depends upon the size of the patient receiving the donation. This procedure may require hospitalization overnight. The greatest risk to you is from the anesthesia. Your hip and lower back may be sore for several days comparable to falling on ice and having muscle soreness. The donation of marrow will not affect your white cell or platelet count and the marrow is replaced naturally in 4 -6 weeks.
Blood stem cells are also found in circulating blood. You will take a drug to stimulate the growth of blood stem cells. The cells are then collected using a process called apheresis. While you relax on a specially designed couch, your blood is passed through a sterile machine that collects the cells and returns the blood to you.

How do I register to be a Volunteer Marrow/Stem Cell Donor?

The HLA Registry is actively recruiting volunteer marrow/stem cell donors for the National Marrow Donor Program’s (NMDP)/ Be The Match Registry. The HLA Registry, which offers educational programs and coordinates donor recruitment drives, recruits in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania but is not limited to these states.

To become a volunteer marrow or stem cell donor you should:

  • Be between 18-60 years of age and in good health.
  • Be willing to donate to anyone in the world.
  • Consent to giving a cheek swab for tissue typing and allow entry of your genetic and biographic information into the Be The Match Registry of potential donors.
  • Give a blood sample in the future.
  • Be available on the registry until your 61st birthday.
  • Be willing to make a time commitment of 20-30 hours over a 4-6 week time span if matched to a patient.
  • Be willing to do either type of donation, peripheral blood stem cell or marrow donation.

By registering you make yourself available to help any patient in the world when needed. If you match a patient in need, we will call you. The chance of being called upon to actually donate is low. Very few people share your exact tissue type. We will not call you unless you are a match for a sick patient with leukemia or another deadly blood disorder.

Every person who registers as a volunteer marrow or stem cell donor increases the chance that a patient in need will find their lifesaving match. Seventy percent of patients do not have a matched donor in their family and must depend upon volunteer donors to find an unrelated marrow or blood stem cell donor or cord blood unit to help save their lives.

There Are Two Ways To Register

If you are 18-60 years old, click here and register virtually. Please enter the Promo Code HLAREGISTRY when you register.

If you are 18-44 call to make an appointment to register in person at:

The HLA Registry

Division of Community Blood Services
102 Chestnut Ridge Road
Montvale, NJ 07645