If you’re a member of the Be The Match Registry® who has donated bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cells (PBSC), you may be eager to make contact with your transplant recipient. In some cases this is possible, but you should also be prepared for it not to happen. For many reasons, a recipient may not send or respond to letters or may choose not to have direct contact.
During the first year after a transplant, some centers allow anonymous contact between you and your recipient. One or more years after the transplant, some centers allow you and your recipient to contact each other directly, if both of you consent.
Protecting donor and patient confidentiality
U.S. law and our federal contract require the National Marrow Donor Program®, which operates the Be The Match Registry, to have a system to keep donor and patient information confidential. Our post-transplant communication guidelines are a crucial part of this system.
Helping you make contact
If anonymous contact during the first year is allowed, we will help you exchange letters, cards or gifts anonymously. Staff at your donor center and the recipient’s transplant 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 recipient, 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 donation experience, without mentioning the name of the center or hospital
||The name, location or number of your donor 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