Becoming a Stem Cell Donor

Myth: Everyone can join the stem cell registry at any age.

Fact: Unfortunately, we are only accepting potential registrants between the ages of 17-35. The minimum age for donation is 17 as current medical information tells us that 17 is the earliest age to safely donate. (We have this regulation in place because the safety of the donor is extremely important to us.) The maximum age for potential registrants is set at 35 because research indicates that younger donors are associated with better long-term survival rates for patients. However, if you are not eligible to become a member of the registry, please read the following myth below: “If I can’t register as a potential donor, I can’t help the cause” to learn more about how you can still help our cause.

Myth: OtherHalf only registers Chinese people.

Fact: Although our focus is on the Chinese community, we are more than happy to register anyone who fits the criteria for becoming a potential stem cell donor. This is because any individual can have difficulty finding a matching donor, depending on the complexity of the genetic typing they have inherited. That’s why it’s important for as many Canadians – no matter what their ethnic background – to join OneMatch.

Myth: Only men are wanted as stem cell donor registrants.

Fact: If you are a male between the ages of 17-35, you’re considered an optimal stem cell donor because stem cells from young male donors offer better long-term survival rates for patients. However, all donors represent more hope for patients around the world and so females between the ages of 17-35 are also welcomed to join the registry.

Myth: Once I register, there’s no turning back.

Fact: As a registrant of the OneMatch stem cell registry, you will always have the right to say no. However, please recognize that if you withdraw from the stem cell donation process, you may put the patient’s life in jeopardy. To prepare for a transplant, the recipient is usually given high doses of radiation and/or chemotherapy to destroy the diseased bone marrow. If the donor does not follow through with providing the patient with the necessary stem cells, the patient will not have enough white blood cells to protect his/her system against surrounding bacteria. For this reason, we encourage you to be informed and committed before becoming a registrant in the stem cell donor registry.

Myth: If I can’t register as a potential donor, I can’t help the cause.

Fact: Even if you aren’t registered with OneMatch, there are still many things you can do to help patients in need!

  1. Spread the word. Tell your friends and family that men between the ages of 17-35 are needed in the stem cell donor registry. You can also follow us on Twitter!
  2. Like our Facebook page. For every “like” we get, we receive $1 from our sponsor.
  3. Donate blood with Canadian Blood Services. Patients undergoing stem cell transplants require 8 units of blood per week. (That’s a lot!) The restrictions for registration as a blood donor are different from stem cell donation so we encourage you to see if you are eligible.
  4. Donate your baby’s cord blood with Canadian Blood Services. Cord blood stem cell transplants are used for treating over 50 blood related diseases and disorders and you can donate publicly in four easy steps. To find out more, please refer to the official Canadian Blood Services website.
  5. Volunteer with OtherHalf. We get busy during the summer so all help is welcomed!
  6. Give a financial gift to OtherHalf.

For more details on how to contribute to the cause, please visit Get Involved.