What does it cost to be a donor?

Posted October 5th, 2011 by Be The Match and filed in Donor Stories, News
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When Jackie donated marrow, her donation costs were covered, as they are for all donorsDonors never pay for donating and are never paid to donate. If you are selected as the best match for a patient and go on to donate, all medical costs for the donation procedure are covered by the National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP), which operates the Be The Match Registry®, or by the patient’s medical insurance.

This means there will be no cost to you for:

  • Physical exams
  • Blood tests
  • The donation procedure and related medical care
  • Transportation and parking at the donation or collection center
  • Other expenses directly related to the donation

What about time off from work?

Many employers provide paid time off for donation. Ask your employer if your company has a policy for marrow or peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) donation. Additionally, some states have laws requiring employers to provide paid donor leave – learn more and see a list of states with donor leave laws.

If you are asked to donate and getting paid time off is an issue for you, please tell your donor center representative. They can help you work with your employer or discuss other Be The Match® resources that may be available to you.

42 Responses to “What does it cost to be a donor?”

  1. socka nasa says:

    I drive by your building in Mpls each day and it is a very nice building. Modern, renovated, almost a little extravagant. How much of my $100 donation is going into debt incurred by such an expensive residence for “Be The Match”? I don’t like organizations that have well paid / cushy offices and workplaces when the money can be used for the cause… don’t get me wrong, I’d be concerned if you were living in a dump, but there seems like there should be middle ground.

    • admin says:

      Thank you for your donation to help patients get the life-saving transplant they need. 100% of your gift goes to patient support: adding new members to the registry, helping patients overcome financial barriers to transplant, and advancing research to improve outcomes. We receive support from a combination of public, private and fee-for-service funding sources that help cover our operating costs.

      We don’t own, but rent space for our National Coordinating Center in the building displaying our Be The Match sign in Minneapolis. Our National Coordinating Center houses more than 470 employees who provide a wide range of services to support the worldwide transplant community. We support patients, physicians and donors as well as network partners including transplant centers, donor centers, recruitment groups, researchers, cord blood banks and more. Our facilities meet standard requirements for the safety and security of our staff and equipment.

      Due to the confidential nature of the medical information we deal with, most of the building is secure. However, you are free to visit our lobby and schedule a meeting to receive a tour of the facilities and learn more about what we do.

      Thank you again for your interest and support.
      Be The Match

    • Sanjay says:

      Tyler ~I am headed to Hoxworth Tri-County tormorow to give platelets ~ just incase you need them & if not, then someone else will get them or it will help be a pay back for what you already received ~ Hope you are feeling better and that you will be able to keep food down soon. Continued prayers Peace be with you & yours ~Marlayne

  2. Kim of Mo'Betta says:

    I don’t care if Be The Match is housed in an elaborate mansion – the registry saved my Dad’s life!! Without it, it is extremely unlikely that we would have located my dad’s donor! Thanks for all you do!! Also, a big thank you to everyone who supports Be The Match with donations, b/c when my Dad was in need of a donor my family recruited a lot of people to the registry…and they were able to join at no cost!

  3. David says:

    If (temporarily) living abroad and one becomes a match, are air travel expenses covered to fly back to the United States? What about hotel expenses?

    • admin says:

      Hello David,
      Be The Match Registry members who are spending more than two months out of the country are considered temporarily unavailable. If you will be out of the country for longer than that, you can contact us at 1-800-627-7692 to update your record. Then, if you notify us when you return to the U.S., we can mark you as available for searching patients again.
      Thank you,
      Be The Match

  4. Ken says:

    If asked to be a donor, is there any help for paying some of the travel/parking expenses? I live about 80-miles from my “local” center even though we have a hospital in Hagerstown Maryland which is rather close for me. The idea of saving a life is quite rewarding and hope one day to have the chance. From what I understand, when being selected as a donor, there may be multiple trips for additional testing, etc. Thanks.

  5. Kathleen says:

    When I donated a number of years ago I was living in Raleigh and the donation site was in Winston-Salem, NC, about 2 hours away. The additional testing you refer to was handled at a local (Raleigh) doctor’s office. It was very convenient for me.

  6. Jenny says:

    I wonder if I’ll ever “Be the match” for someone?

  7. Jenn says:

    When I donated two years ago, the first testing facility was only about 10 miles from my house, the hospital where I received filgrastim injections and did the donation was 35 miles (and I made that trip on 5 consecutive days). I did not pay a single cent for any of the testing, and was reimbursed for the initial paperwork I had to fax, all mileage, and even the lunch I had between physicals (one is done on behalf of the marrow program to make sure you won’t harm the patient in any way, the other is done by a doctor who acts as your advocate to make sure the donation won’t harm you in any way).

    While I was able to use vacation time to cover my absences for the procedure, my employer even said they would have allowed me to use FMLA leave if I’d run out of paid leave!

  8. Mary E. Rossow says:

    …it would be such an honor to be a donor… I hope I get the opportunity. 😉

  9. Jeanine says:

    I wish to say “thanks” to the Registry and to the wonderful donor who has now given my husband a chance at life. He received his stem cells last Thursday, so we don’t know what his final outcome will be, but at least now he has a chance! When we heard that he would need a bone marrow transplant, I signed up for the registry in hopes that I can some day repay the gift that has been given to us! Thank you to all that give others this chance!

  10. Jessica says:

    When I donated all expenses were covered. I live about 4 hrs from the donation center and they covered train fare for me and my husband, hotel, food and all medical expenses. I was very pleased with the whole process.

  11. Julie says:

    I too hope and pray I will be called upon to donate. I would gladly cover some of my costs as a contribution if needed as part of the process.

  12. Randy says:

    Is there anything I can do to have a better chance of being a donor. I have been on the list for quite a while, and did get one call last year. I even made it to the hospital to give blood samples, but that is where it ended.
    I really want to help.

    • admin says:

      Hello Randy,
      As long as you keep your contact information up-to-date with us, Be The Match will contact you if you are ever a possible match for a patient. There is nothing further you can do to increase your chances of being called.
      Thank you so much for your commitment.
      Be The Match

    • Tamara Aevermann says:

      Randy I became a donor 12 years ago when a friends 5 year old died from cancer. She had a center set up at our church for us to become donors. I am so happy to be on the list and I too would love to save a life. I have never been contacted maybe that is because I live in Idaho way out west?

  13. Karin Shinn says:

    Ditto Randy. I live in teh Southwest. Perhaps my living far from a donation center precludes me from being called as a donor if a nother qualified person lives closer?

    • admin says:

      Hello Karin,
      A patient’s doctor selects the best available match for a patient. The donor’s distance from the donor center is not a factor (this information is confidential would not be available to the patient’s doctor). As long as you keep your contact information updated with us, Be The Match will contact you if you are ever a possible match.
      Thank you!
      Be The Match

  14. Sue L. says:

    I have been on the donor list since the late 90s. I was contacted once (2002) and only made it to Stage One, blood testing. I understand that I will be “kicked off” the donor list in 4 months, when I turn 60. I know it’s for my protection. Knowing that I might help save a life is the most awesome thing I can imagine. Maybe I’ll be able to help before February.

  15. Debbie Geno says:

    I have signed up for the bone marrow registry and submitted the sample. I hope I am still on the registry, because I am still willing to donate if and when necessary.

  16. Amie says:

    My brother and I were both called to be possible donors. He went through testing and will be donating in November. I guess he was the “better specimen” haha. I’m so proud of him for helping save lives. I hope this will encourage his friends to register.

  17. Nancy J says:

    Our church in a small town in SC would like to host a bone marrow drive. Can someone contact me about this possibility?

    • admin says:

      Hello Nancy,
      Please complete our Host a Drive form:

      We can then put you in contact with the Be The Match representative best able to help you and your church with a marrow drive.
      Thank you so much,
      Be The Match

  18. Sharon L says:

    I work in a doctors office and we try to help our community and society as a whole. I was wondering how to go about setting up a bone marrow donation event? I know there will be several patient that will donate but can’t afford the cost of testing. Working in the medical field we see children and adults that could benefit from this but are powerless to do anything. I think this could be huge! Please contact me with the steps I need to take to make this happen.

    Thank you for all you do.

    • admin says:

      Hi Sharon,
      Please complete our Host a Drive form:
      The Be The Match representative best able to help you will get in touch with you.
      Thank you!
      Be The Match

  19. Angelica says:

    Hello everyone,
    I would like to address the concerns that a lot of us seem to have about being a better donor or not being called or accepted. If you can think of being a stem cell or bone marrow donor as being a DNA match for someone that may make it easier to understand why some of us may never be called, or why it takes months or years to be contacted. It’s never personal, or about distance, age, race (okay, sometimes- I can explain)or anything other than who’s the closest match that won’t cause the recipient’s body to reject the donation, which is seen by the body as foreign. I work in the lab and know first-hand how difficult it is to find a partial match for someone, let alone a close enough match to attempt. As for race, I say that because certain ethnicities are closer matches for each other based on genes and such. Very technical, but I just didn’t want anyone to think that they are being contacted to donate because of things taht are not involved in the process at all. Stay available and keep your current contact info up to date with the registry. Thank you for making yourself available to help save a life! 🙂

  20. Angelica says:

    *ooops! *not being contacted*

  21. Judy Neusen says:

    My oldest daughter Krista went through a Bone Marrow Transplant in 1999, and since that experience, I always knew that I would be willing to be a donar. I very much look for the time to come, as I will be here to help somebody else.

  22. Christine says:

    I signed up to be a donor in 1991 and didn’t get called until 2009. I have donated once and matched two people. For my first donation my travel expenses were remimbursed. For the second match I got a letter saying the patient was not ready for transplant so I believe she didn’t make it. I also had a visiting nurse come to my house to give me the Filgrastim. I wasn’t allowed to leave the house for 5 days and had to go for a central line at my local hospital.

  23. Petra says:

    I was contacted for further testing after a partial match, but that’s where the process stopped for me. I was so excited to be called! Maybe someday.

  24. Jimmi says:

    I was watching Extreme Makeover a few weeks ago and saw where they were in Arizona testing for someone. I can;t believe that in all of South Carolina, there is no one who needs a marrow transplant. How do I know where and when to go to get tested for someone?

    • admin says:

      Hello Jimmi,
      There are patients all over the world who need a marrow transplant. If you’re willing to donate marrow to any patient in need, should you be identified as the best match, you can join the Be The Match Registry. You can learn more about joining, find marrow drives in your area or join the registry online here: http://www.bethematch.org/join
      Thank you!
      Be The Match

  25. Debbie Geno says:

    I will be happy to be a bone marrow donor. Contact me if this is a possibility. Debbie Geno

  26. joe doerflein says:

    I was put on the registry in the late 80’s and was only contacted once, in the late 90’s. The doctors found a better match which is the more important issue. I would be more than happy to help because God has given me so much and I want to help others. Just think how great it is by helping someone with a gift for life

  27. Peter says:

    Thanks to “Be The Match” for this post. This post is really a good one. Donating blood for the care of blood cancer patient is a good idea. I am regular blood donor. In every four month I try to donate one time. From this post myself encourage to donate blood for blood cancer patient. I want to work with you. How can I ??
    Thanks to Jackie for your grate work.

  28. Tabitha says:

    I’d really like to donate, but I cannot afford the $100 registration fee. Is there any kind of waiver offered to those who cannot afford it?
    Thank you!

    • Juan says:

      I am in the same situation,..I am hispanic and i know is a deficit of Marrow for Hispanic or Latinos,….. $100 is prohibited for me. At the moment I am paycheck to paycheck,… and i know people that need our help in special hispanics with Leukenia waiting for a Donor.

      I am a blood donor and I dont understand why they can not do that in coordination with the Blood Banks. those donations can bring from $200 to $600 depend in what part of the country you live.

      If somebody needs a transplant and I am the match nobody will know about it just because i can not afford the testing.

      • Robin says:

        Yes, I am wondering the same. Last year I tried to register at 45 and was asked to pay $100 for the privilege of registering. I just saw a second segment on GMA today and again, $100 to register if over 45. I understand folks in the 45 – 60 range are not idea candidates but aren’t they better than nothing when you need donors desperately? I think it is because you feel folks in the 45 – 60 range are more likely to be able to “afford” the $100 “donation” to register.

  29. Colleen says:

    If a donor is found in another country, is the only 100% match worldwide, needs to be present for a transplant which is the difference between life and death, and is willing to travel, how does one make that happen financially?

  30. Jackie Ferguson says:

    I have B- blood type. It is very rare. If you someone I could help, please contact me. I live in Indiana.

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