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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 NMDP confidentiality policies and the policies of other countries.

NOTE: If your donation is cryopreserved, the opportunity for you to correspond or potentially meet your recipient would only occur after your blood stem cells were requested on behalf of a specific, searching patient, which could be many months or years after your donation.

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 an anonymous update 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, and letters without revealing your identities. However, some transplant centers do not provide updates or allow anonymous communication at any time.

Remember: Confidentiality polices and anonymous contact guidelines also apply to social media. Review our social media guidelines to learn what you can share about your donation experience online.

U.S. anonymous communication rules

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 policies 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 and cards must be sent through your donor center and your communications will be checked to ensure that no identifying details are shared.

If your recipient lives in the U.S. you can send:

  • Emails, cards or letters

Cards, emails, and letters cannot include:

  • Personal names. This includes nicknames or initials for you, your family members, friends, pets or doctors. You can use general words like mom, dad, brother or sister. 
  • Organizational names. This includes names of hospitals, employer, sports teams, your registry or military branch. 
  • Your location. This includes city, state, country, landmarks or regions. 
  • References to organizations, causes, associations or local community groups.
  • Photographs.
  • Personal dates, such as birthdays or anniversaries.


    Please note: If you or your recipient is from a different country, international registries have their own rules to follow.