Stem Cell Donation

Only about a third of people who need a stem cell transplant have a family member who is a good match. The majority must rely on the selflessness of those who volunteer to donate.

The rewards of stem cell donation are many, while the risks are few. As a donor, you may be able to help someone who is fighting a life-threatening disease like cancer.

Bone marrow stem cell donation at Henry Ford

Our Transplant Institute is home to the largest stem cell transplant patient unit in Michigan. That status means our team has a level of experience unmatched in the state.

Learn more about:

Registering to become a stem cell donor

Signing up to become a potential stem cell donor is quick and easy. If you are interested in possibly donating to someone in the United States you may not know, you should:

  • Request a free registration kit from the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP).
  • Follow the directions in the kit to take a swab of your cheek cells. Return the sample in the postage-paid envelope. This sample will be used to determine your human leukocyte antigen (HLA) type and potentially match you with someone in need.
  • Know that the NMDP estimates that 1 out of every 430 registry members are contacted to donate.

Resources for stem cell donors

Donating stem cells is a big commitment. We want you to feel comfortable and confident in your decision. We have experts to help you, as does the National Marrow Donor Program:

  • Financial specialists: You should not have to pay medical expenses related to your stem cell donation. Our financial specialists assess the transplant recipient’s health insurance to determine coverage. If needed, the recipient may apply for grants to cover any of your unpaid medical expenses.
  • National Marrow Donor Program: This nonprofit organization provides financial assistance to cover your travel costs and other incidental expenses related to the donation process. Learn more about the National Marrow Donor Program.
  • Guest Services: Our caring staff at Guest Services can help you and your loved ones with travel arrangements and lodging. Learn more about these resources.
Take the next step

Speak with a Transplant Institute specialist.