Finding a Matching Donor

Myth: Like finding a blood donor, it is easy to find a stem cell donor.

Fact: A perfect bone marrow match isn’t always available. In fact, in extreme cases, the odds of a match may be as little as one in 750,000 or less. (That’s like your chances of being struck by lightning!) The goal of searching bone marrow registries is to find the best available unrelated matches, giving patients the greatest possible chance of a positive outcome. And the only way to find these matches is to search a large pool of potential donors with varied ethnic and racial backgrounds. This is why we encourage people of varying ethnic origins to become registrants in the stem cell donor registry.

Myth: I come from a large family, so if I ever need a stem cell transplant, I should have no problem finding a match within my family.

Fact: The requirements for finding a match are so precise that only about 25% of those in need can receive a transplant from a sibling in their own family. 75% of patients still need to rely on a total stranger to give them a second chance at life. That is why there is the OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network – a network of Canadians who are ready to donate to any patient in need.