MacRumors encourages everyone who is eligible to take three important steps:
- Register to donate your organs and tissue after your death.
- Tell your family that this is what you want.
- Register to join your country's National Bone Marrow Registry.
Why? Because it saves lives. There's no gift you can give that's more valuable and more appreciated than the gift of life to someone in need. And you need to do these three steps only once for your entire life, to show that you are willing to save the lives of people who will die without your help.
MacRumors encourages everyone to sign up to donate their organs and tissue and to volunteer to be a bone marrow donor. It's easy, it's quick, and you can change your mind at any time. Cultural barriers lessen each year. We also ask for your help to publicize the need for donations and encourage and support those who sign up. Once people learn how critical it is for others in need, they may be willing to step up.
This page summarizes information for potential donors. Because details differ from country to country, we welcome your help in maintaing the resources on this page. Please let us know of information we can add or update.
Why organ and tissue donations are so important
In the U.S. there are over 100,000 people on organ waiting lists. Steve Jobs' life was extended by the liver transplant he received in April 2009. What better way to honor his memory than to sign up as a donor yourself?
A single organ and tissue donor can save up to 8 lives!
There are many more people waiting for organs than there are organs available. Every day about 18 people die while waiting for an organ. Kidneys are most in demand, but you can also choose to donate your heart, liver, lungs, corneas, pancreas, intestines, skin, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, arteries, veins, and other organs and tissue. It's a very personal decision and it's up to you to decide what organs or tissue you are willing to donate when you can no longer use them yourself. It's not all or nothing; specify your personal wishes.
Why bone marrow donations are so important
You don't have to die to donate your bone marrow or stem cells, but you have to be a tissue match for the recipient, typically a patient whose own bone marrow has failed and with the same ethnic/geographic background that you have. Bone marrow transplants save the lives of people with leukemia, lymphoma, sickle cell anemia, and other immune system and bone marrow disorders, as well as radiation poisoning. People with a matched sibling can be transplanted from their brother or sister, but 70% of patients do not have a matching family member. They need your help.
Because the donor and recipient must have matching tissue types (blood antigens), you may be the only person who is a match for a particular patient who would not otherwise survive their disease. That's why it's so important to register as many people as possible, to give patients a chance of finding a match. Chances are that you won't become a match and be asked to donate bone marrow or stem cells, but wouldn't you like to have that chance if you were the only one who could save someone's life?
Registering to be an organ and tissue donor
Registering to be an organ and tissue donor is a simple process. No medical tests, just a form to fill out. In many countries it can be done while renewing your driver's license or by adding a sticker to your driver's license. In the U.S. it's handled by each state, in Canada by each province. In most countries it's an opt-in system; in a few countries (Spain for example) it's an opt-out system.
In the U.S. you can register for organ, eye, and tissue donation using the Health app on an iPhone.
For details, see Organ and tissue donor information by country below.
Telling your family: A critical step
If you die, your family may be asked about your willingness to donate organs, even if you've previously signed up or have a sticker on your driver's license. You do not want the burden of this decision to fall on them, or for them to be unaware of your wishes. Let them know, in person and on paper, so they'll know what to do if the time comes.
Some people also file a copy of their wishes with their primary physician or their local hospital as an extra guarantee that their wishes will be observed. It's a huge shame if organs are not donated simply due to a lack of paperwork.
Registering to be a bone marrow donor
Registering to be a bone marrow donor typically involves filling out a form and having your cheek swabbed, either in person at a bone marrow drive or treatment center, or using a mail-in kit. From the cells collected, medical technicians can determine your tissue type and identify any patients who match you, now or in the future.
Bone marrow registries are national lists of volunteer donors. The way to sign up varies by country.
For details, see Bone marrow registration information by country below.
Organs: Organ donation is handled by medical professionals after your death and after consultation with your family. Your wishes will be observed; that's why your family needs to know which organs and tissue you decided to donate.
Bone marrow: Even after you sign up for the Bone Marrow Registry, there is less than a 0.2% chance that you will match someone in need. But if you do, you may be the only person who can save that person's life.
Bone marrow donation is handled at a pair of hospitals, one for the donor (you!) and one for the recipient, who may live anywhere in the world. You can donate either bone marrow or stem cells. Bone marrow donation involves minor surgery under general or local anesthesia so bone marrow can be removed from your hip. You might be a bit sore for a day or two afterwards. Your body soon replaces the bone marrow. Stem cell donation is even easier: You are given an injection that moves some of your stem cells into circulating blood, and they are removed like a platelet or plasma donation. Side effects are minor.
Would you do this for a complete stranger who would otherwise die? Millions of people have registered to do so, but millions more are needed because the chances of tissue matches are so low for patients without matched siblings.
Almost everyone is eligible to donate at least some of their organs or tissue. Some people find it hard to think about their own death, or have cultural or religious issues with these types of donations, but everyone who is willing to register as a donor should do so.
Most adults are eligible to join their national bone marrow registry, although there are age limits and medical guidelines. That makes it all the more important that those who are eligible sign up.
Organ and tissue donor information by country
- Australia: The Organ and Tissue Authority
- Austria: Austrotransplant, Eurotransplant International Foundation
- Belarus: contact Ukrainian Association of Medical Tourism
- Belgium: Belgian Transplantation Society, Eurotransplant International Foundation (Dutch, French, German)
- Brazil: Brazilian Association of Organ Transplantation (ABTO)
- Bulgaria: Transplantations and Assisted Reproductive Treatment
- Alberta: MyHealth.Alberta.ca
- British Columbia: BC Transplant
- Manitoba: Sign Up For Life.ca, Transplant Manitoba
- Newfoundland: Eastern Health
- New Brunswick: New Brunswick Organ & Tissue Donation Program
- Northwest Territories: Health and Social Services
- Nova Scotia: Nova Scotia Health Authority
- Ontario: Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care and beadoner.ca
- Québec: Transplant Québec
- Saskatchewan: Saskatchewan Health Authority
- Yukon: Health and wellness
- If you know of organ donation information for other provinces, please let us know.
- Croatia: Eurotransplant International Foundation
- Cyprus: Ministry of Health Potential Organ and Tissue Donation
- Czech Republic: Czech Transplantation Coordinating Center (KST)
- Denmark: Dansk Center for Organdonation, Scandiatransplant
- Estonia: Ministry of Health National Transplant Bureau
- France: Fédération des Associations pour le Don d'Organes et de Tissus humains
- Finland: Scandiatransplant
- Georgia: Georgian Association of Transplantologists (GAT)
- Germany: Eurotransplant International Foundation, Federal Centre for Health Education (BZgA), German Organ Transplanation Foundation (DSO)
- Greece: Hellenic Transplant Organization
- Hong Kong: Department of Health
- Hungary: Eurotransplant International Foundation, National Blood Supply Service (OVSZ), Hungary Organ Coordination Office (OCO)
- Iceland: Scandiatransplant
- India: National Organ & Tissue Transplant Organization
- Ireland: Health Service Executive
- Israel: National Transplant Center
- Italy: Associazione Italiana per la Donazione di Organi, Tessuti e Cellule (A.I.D.O.), Centro Nazionale Trapianti (CNT), Nord Italian Transplant Program
- Japan: Japan Organ Transplant Network (JOT)
- Latvia: BaltTransplant
- Lithuania: BaltTransplant, National Bureau on Transplantation
- Luxembourg: Eurotransplant International Foundation (French, German)
- Malta: contact Transplant Support Group Malta
- Moldova: Agentia de Transplant
- The Netherlands: Dutch Transplant Assocation, Eurotransplant International Foundation
- New Zealand: Organ Donation New Zealand
- Norway: Scandiatransplant, Stiftelsen Organdonasjon
- Poland: Poltransplant
- Portugal: Instituto Portuguese do Sanque e da Transplantacao
- Romania: National Transplant Agency
- Singapore: Live On
- Slovak Republic: Slovak Center of Organ Transplantation (SCOT)
- Slovenia: Eurotransplant International Foundation, Slovenija Transplant
- South Africa: Organ Donor Foundation
- Spain: Organización Nacional de Trasplantes (ONT)
- Sweden: Scandiatransplant, The Donation Council
- Switzerland: Swiss Transplant
- U.K.: NHS Blood and Transplant
- U.S.: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, donatelife.net, and iPhone Health app signup
- Ukraine: Ukraine Ministry of Health
- Uruguay: National Institute of Donation and Transplantation of Cells, Tissues, and Organs
See also: funny video from the Mexican Red Cross.
Bone marrow registration information by country
- Argentina Argentine HSC Donors Registry
- Armenia: Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry
- Australia: Australian Bone Marrow Donor Registry (ABMDR)
- Austria: Austrian Bone Marrow Donors
- Belgium: Marrow Donor Program Belgium
- Brazil: National Register for Bone Marrow Donors (REDOME)
- Bulgaria: Bulgarian Bone Marrow Donor Registry
- Canada: OtherHalf (for Chinese ancestry), OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network, Canada OneMatch
- Chile: Juntos Contra el Cancer de Sangre
- China: China Marrow Donor Program (CMDP)
- Cyprus: Cyprus Bone Marrow Donor Registry
- Czech Republic: Czech National Marrow Donors Registry (CNMDR), Czech Stem Cells Registry
- Denmark: Danish Stem Cell Donors
- Finland: Finnish Stem Cell Registry
- France: Agence de la biomédecine, Association pour le Don d'Organes et de Tissus humains
- Germany: Deutsche Knochenmarkspendedatei (DKMS) and German National Registry of Blood Stem Cell Donors (ZKRD)
- Greece: Unrelated Hematopoietic Stem Cell Donor Registry Greece
- Hong Kong: Hong Kong Bone Marrow Donor Registry
- Hungary: National Blood Supply Service (OVSZ)
- Iceland: Norwegian Bone Marrow Donor Registry
- India: Marrow Donor Registry India
- Iran: Iranian Stem Cell Donor Program (ISCDP)
- Ireland: Irish Unrelated Bone Marrow Registry (IUBMR)
- Israel: Ezer Mizion Bone Marrow Donor Registry
- Italy: Associazione Italiana per la Donazione di Organi, Tessuti e Cellule (AIDO), Centro Nazionale Trapianti (CNT), Italian Bone Marrow Donor Registry (IBMDR)
- Japan: Japan Marrow Donor Program (JMDP)
- Kazakhstan: National Register of Bone Marrow Donors in the Republic of Kazakhstan (NRDKMRK)
- Korea: Korea Marrow Donor Program
- Mexico: Be the Match Mexico, Mexican Bone Marrow Donor Registry (DONORMO)
- The Netherlands: Netherlands Matchis Foundation
- New Zealand: New Zealand Bone Marrow Donor Registry (NZBMDR)
- Nigeria: Bone Marrow Registry in Nigeria (BMRN)
- Norway: Norwegian Bone Marrow Donor Registry
- Philippines: Human Organ Preservation Effort (H.O.P.E.)
- Poland: National Polish Bone Marrow Donor Registry, Poltransplant
- Portugal: Portuguese Bone Marrow Donors Registry (CEDACE)
- Romania: Romanian National Registry
- Russia: BMD
- Saudi Arabia: Saudi Stem Cells Donor Registry
- Serbia: Serbian Bone Marrow Donor Registry
- Singapore: Singapore Bone Marrow Donor Programme (BMDP)
- Slovak Republic: Eurocord-Slovakia
- Slovenia: Slovenija Transplant, Zavod Republike Slovenije za transfuzijsko medicino
- South Africa: South African Bone Marrow Registry (SABMR)
- Spain: Donación de Médula Ósea, DKMS (map provided by José Carreras Foundation), Spanish Bone Marrow Donors Registry (REDMO)
- Sweden: The Tobias Registry
- Switzerland: Swiss Blood Stem Cells
- Taiwan: Buddhist Tzu Chi Stem Cells Center (BTTSCC)
- Thailand: Thai Red Cross Society, Thai StemLife
- Turkey: Turkey Healthcare Group
- U.K.: Anthony Nolan Register (donors age 16 to 30), British Bone Marrow Registry (donors age 18 to 49), DKMS (donors age 17 to 55), Welsh Bone Marrow Donor Registry (WBMDR, donors age 17 to 30)
- U.S.: National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP, aka BeTheMatch), Asian American Donor Program, Asians for Miracle Marrow Matches (A3M), Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation, SAMAR
- Uruguay: Instituto Nacional de Donación y Trasplante de Células, Tejidos y Órganos
You may find information about these and other bone marrow registries at the website of the World Marrow Donor Association (WMDA).
If you donate blood, platelets, or plasma during the month of May, please post about it in our latest Blood Drive thread.
Each time you donate from June to the next April, visit the MacRumors 2023-2024 Team Page, click PLEDGE TO GIVE BLOOD, and fill in your information. It's that easy!
Enter your MacRumors user name as your First Name and @ macrumors as your Last Name. In the Comments field, tell us what type of donation and how many units, e.g., 1 unit of whole blood, 2 units of platelets, etc. (The email address and zip code fields don't matter.) We'll include you in next May's MacRumors Blood Drive Honor Roll.
As a bone marrow donor, let me be the first to say that I am very grateful to MacRumors for encouraging people to sign up. Ten years after I volunteered, I was called and asked to donate. The process is simple and for most people, there is only mild discomfort. For me, the most painful part was removing a two inch piece of bandage tape holding my IV in place.
The reward of knowing that for a day's worth of effort you have helped save a life is priceless.
If you are reading this, PLEASE sing up to be a donor. It really is easy.
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