It takes approximately 3 to 5 months from the day you submit your cheek swab and form for you to be added to the register. During this period, we conduct eligibility checks and send your swabs to our appointed laboratory for tissue typing to determine your unique HLA and blood group.
Yes, you are still able to register as a marrow donor however you will have to pay $180 for your registration. For more information, please drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have not received a call from us, it means there is no patient yet with the same HLA marker as you who requires your donation. While waiting, look out for our e-newsletters and educational content.
Please email us your name and contact number at email@example.com and we will get in touch with you.
Yes, the Singapore Islamic Religious Council has issued a Fatwa stating that it is permissible for Muslims to be marrow donors.
We are not able to carry out the request. Our database is intended to help any patient who needs a bone marrow transplant to find a match. As such it is important that all marrow donors are willing to donate to any patient. If you wish to find out whether you are a match for someone you know who needs a transplant, you may do a private typing.
It is important to know that every request we receive at the BMDP to find a match for a patient will start with a search of the local donor register at the country in which the patient is in and then extend as necessary around the world. As a member the World Marrow Donor Association (WMDA) BMDP is connected to more than 90 registers around the world. Many of these registers have immediate and real-time access to more than 30 million donors worldwide.
What this means is, if this friend is in Thailand, her doctor-in-charge would evaluate her condition and make an assessment on her condition to see if a transplant is needed. If a transplant is required, the doctor will activate a search through the Thailand registry to see if there is a matching donor. If there is no matching donor, the Thailand registry will then seek the help of international registries. If the best match is found overseas, the Thailand registry will liaise with the overseas registry to see how they can collect the stem cells.
If you are in general good health, you can register as a marrow donor. You may refer to the Medical Exclusions here. However if your condition is not mentioned, we suggest that you complete the online registration first and our team will assess the form you have submitted and update you on whether you qualify.
A cheek swab is not a medical procedure and you are registering in a voluntary capacity, as such no parental consent is needed. Only if you are found as a match to a patient and you are below the age of 21 will you require parental consent to proceed. While you do not require parental consent to register, regardless of your age, we strongly encourage you to inform your family members after you sign up as they are a strong source of support and it is important to keep them aware of this decision that you have made to join the register and maybe one day save a life.
Patients and donors can write anonymously for the first two years after the donation. If the patient you have donated to is overseas, this contact will be determined by the policy of the overseas registry. After 2 years, if both parties are interested to meet BMDP will help to facilitate this, subject to the overseas registry’s policy for overseas patients.
Yes, it is possible as BMDP is part of a global network of registers and you could thus be found as a match for a patient overseas. However, your collection will be conducted in Singapore and your cells will be couriered to the country the patient is at.
A volunteer donor who is successfully matched with a transplant patient may decide not to go ahead with the process. There are legitimate reasons for saying “no”, including illness, the risks involved or even fear. While BMDP respects the decision of the matched donor, uncommitted donors may give false hope to patients awaiting a transplant. Once a donor gives his/her consent, the patient begins pre-transplant treatment, where his/her bone marrow completely wiped clean of blood stem cells. Therefore, when a donor decides to pull out at any stage after the endorsement, the patient will mostly likely be put in a life-threatening situation without transplant. For this reason, BMDP hopes that you will be committed to your participation once you give your consent.
Yes, donors can indicate their preferred method and they will be advised of the transplant doctors’ preference as well based on the needs of the patient.
For PBSC method, during the 5 days of the G-CSF injections, donor may experience some flu-like symptoms, slight bone aches or feeling of tiredness. During the donation, donor may experience some discomfort such as dizziness, nausea and numbing feeling on his lips, nose or fingers. Most of our donors are able to get back to routine study or work within the next few days. For the Bone Marrow method, the main risk would be the side effects of general anaesthesia. This includes sore throat, nausea and vomiting. After the procedure, there may be some soreness and stiffness in the lower back for a few days or longer, but most donors will be able to get back to routine work or study in a few days and full physical routine in a few weeks. For both methods, our doctors will conduct medical examination and health history questionnaire to ensure that donor is fit and healthy to donate. A donor management representative will also follow up with the donor throughout the donation journey.
G-CSF is a naturally occurring hormone that stimulates to release stem cells into the blood stream since 1990s. The common side effects of G-CSF are headache, tiredness and bone or muscle pain. Based on available data from healthy donors who have received G-CSF, no long-term risks have been found to date according to the World Marrow Donor Association (WMDA).
It is possible that you may be asked to donate bone marrow twice to the same patient if the patient requires. After the second donation, you will be retired from the registry permanently. Nonetheless, you can still donate to related matched patients (siblings etc.) as there are no limits in this category.
No. Everybody will be given equal chance when they need a bone marrow donor and no priority will be given. Ultimately, suitability will be dependent on the matching of Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA).
The requests for donor search may be submitted to the BMDP via hospital staff only. This is due to the extensive medical information needed and search for potential donors are carried out only if transplant is an option for your treatment. Due to personal data policies, we can only accept a search request via recognized transplant centers and international registries.
From the initial search request to submitting the donor recommendation, it takes up to 5 working days. The average time from the donor recommendation to the actual transplant may take 3 - 5 months. During this period, your transplant team will advise of the treatment type and regimen that is required to support you, during the time leading up to the actual donation. We know this wait can be frustrating, but it is also an opportunity to spend time with family and loved ones.
The overall survival rate depends on several factors such as the patient’s age, disease type, stage of the disease and the level of match between the patient and the donor. The better the match level, the better the transplant outcome. In Singapore, the survival rate for Leukemia and Lymphoma is between 60 – 70%, within the 1st year of diagnosis.
Transplant patients are charged for the following:
The charges are levied in two stages; at the Verification Typing stage, where the typical cost will be less than $4,500 and the collection stage of the blood stem cells. This cost will vary depending on the country of origin of the stem cell product. If we can identify a potential donor here in Singapore, the cost will be around $21,500. An overseas donor may cost up to $67,000.
No. When the BMDP receives a search request with details of the patient’s HLA typing, we will also search for other registers in other countries. Our job is to provide your medical team with a one-stop service, from searching for a suitable donor to transporting the stem cell product directly to you.
Your doctor would advise if other family members should be tested. The doctor may also approach BMDP by sending a search request to look for potentially matched unrelated donors.
Currently, none of the costs incurred to test the donor and procurement are covered under any government health schemes. Some of the insurance policies may cover these costs and you should check with your provider for information on this.
Providing information is free – so all the preliminary searches and the information we provide from the local and international donor registers will not cost you anything. You will make the first payment only when your medical team makes a request for Verification Typing on a donor. The next payment will be due at the time the donor is confirmed by your medical team and we are requested to carry out the medical examination followed by the bone marrow or stem cell collection. For further enquiries, please direct them to the Search and Transplant Services team.
The hospital will provide patients with payment instructions. If there are any queries, you may contact the BMDP Search and Transplant services team.
No, you do not have to pay any travel costs for your bone marrow donor. All samples, medical check-ups and the actual bone marrow or stem cell procurement will be carried out in the home country of the volunteer bone marrow donor. We will then arrange for professional couriers to collect the product and hand-carry it to the hospital where the patient is being treated. The procurement cost includes the airfare and overnight accommodation (if required) for the courier.
After you have passed the 24-month post-transplant mark, you may request to meet your donor. This is dependent on the donor registry’s policy and donor’s willingness as well.
This is a very special opportunity for both donor and recipient to share how their lives have interacted since the transplant.
Prior to the 2-year mark, if you wish to send a card to the donor at any time, we will be very pleased to forward this on your behalf. It should not contain any information that will allow you to be identified.
To fund for the operations of BMDP which includes:
Yes. At the point of donation, you need to provide your NRIC and full name to us to be entitled for 250% tax deduction. You are not entitled to tax deduction if the donation is done through NETS, QR Code or donation tins.
A TDR will be issued to you when you make a minimum donation of $10.
There are a few ways:
Cheque Payable to: The Bone Marrow Donor Programme.
Address: 8 Sinaran Drive, #03-02, Novena Specialist Centre, Singapore 307470.
Please indicate your full name and NRIC No at the back of the cheque for us to issue a Tax Deductible Receipt to you.
Yes. 100% of all funds raised goes directly to the BMDP.