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Many donors would like the opportunity to connect with their recipient, the patient they donated to, or receive updates on the recipient's health. After donation, contact and updates will depend on Be The Match confidentiality policies and the policies of other countries.

Jenna, transplant recipient meets Maxine, her marrow donor.

Direct contact with your recipient

You and your recipient may want to have direct contact with one another. In many cases, this is possible after a waiting period of at least one year, however each case is unique and waiting periods vary by country. Some countries do not allow direct contact between donors and recipients at any time. The confidentiality policies are in place to protect the privacy of both you and your recipient.

Direct contact between donors and recipients is a choice, not an obligation. For many reasons, you or your recipient may choose to not have any contact with each other. Transplant and donation are very personal emotional experiences, which people deal with in different ways.

Updates and anonymous contact with your recipient

According to the confidentiality policies, some transplant centers may provide up to three anonymous updates on the status of the recipient within the first year after transplant. Additionally, you and your recipient may have anonymous contact during the first year after transplant. This includes sending cards, letters, and gifts without revealing your identities. However, some transplant centers do not provide updates or allow anonymous communication at any time.

Guidelines for anonymous contact

United States law requires us to have a system to keep donor and patient information confidential, as do the laws in other countries. Our post-transplant communication guidelines are a crucial part of this system.

Within the first year of donating, transplant centers in most countries will allow anonymous contact. Anonymous contact means that you cannot include any information that could reveal your identity. All letters, cards, and gifts must be sent through your donor center and your communications will be checked to ensure that no identifying details are shared.

Here are some guidelines for anonymous contact with your recipient:

Okay to send Do not send
Your gender Names, including initials, nicknames or made up names for yourself, your recipient, friends or family
Your ageYour 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 hospitalThe name, location or number of your donor center or hospital
Greeting cardsOn greeting cards - the name, address, country of the greeting card publisher, a currency (such as dollars) or a barcode
 Photographs
Small gifts of appreciationGifts of high monetary value or gifts that are easily broken
Non-perishable food or candyFood that can spoil, such as fruit or baked goods
CDs, tapes and DVDs, in the original wrapping with seals unbrokenPersonally mixed or recorded CDs, tapes or DVDs
 Gifts that may imply the location of the sender, such as a CD by a local artist