How to join the Bone Marrow Donor Registry

Joining The Registry is easy and free! There are 2 ways you can join, through a mouth cheek swab or by providing a blood sample.

After you have joined, the chances of being matched with a patient is quite low, only 1 in 1500 Australians are a match in any given year, so donating stem cells isn’t something you will do all the time! And although you are not obliged to donate at that point when you are called and asked if you’d like to donate your stem cells, it is very important to ensure that you are committed when joining. To find out what happen’s if you are someone’s match and donating stem cells please visit

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Mouth Cheek Swab

Order your cheek swab kit online at

You will receive your kit in the mail with easy step-by-step instructions. Simply use the included swabs (they are similar to a cotton q-tip) to swab the inside of your mouth to get the saliva sample, then post it back. That’s it! Your sample will be added to The Registry to be made searchable and potentially matched with a patient in need!

Who do we need to join?

  • People aged 18 to 30 (up to 45 is OK) - Younger stem cells perform better in a transplant, giving the patient a better chance at survival

  • Culturally diverse people such as Asian, Italian, Greek, Middle Eastern, Indian and more - People with a mixed ethnicity are also needed. Patients with a culturally diverse background struggle to find their match because there's not enough people from these groups joining The Registry

  • Males ideally with a culturally diverse background, but any background is OK - Males physically have more stem cells to give plus biologically don’t have to worry about pregnancy or breastfeeding that can get in the way of donating

Eligibility to join through Cheek Swabs

If you are between the ages of 18-30 then you are in the ideal age bracket to become a donor, but you are still able to register to be a donor up until the age of 45. You’ll also need to be willing to donate, anonymously, to any patient in Australia or overseas and hold a valid Medicare card (please be aware that you do not have to actually travel overseas when donating to an overseas patient, it can all be done locally in Australia).

You’ll also need to be able to answer “NO” to the following questions:

  • Have you ever been diagnosed with thalassaemia major?

  • Have you ever received an organ or bone marrow transplant?

  • Have you ever suffered a stroke or heart attack?

  • Have you ever had a positive test for HTLV or HIV?

There are also a few conditions that may or may not affect your eligibility. If you’ve ever suffered from any of the following conditions please contact our partners at

  • Cancer of any kind (except basal cell carcinoma of the skin or squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the skin)

  • Pre-cancerous conditions, such as cervical abnormalities

  • Auto-immune diseases (except minor conditions like psoriasis or vitiligo)

Red Cross Blood Service

Visit a Red Cross Blood Service Centre

Alternatively another way you can join The Registry is to book an appointment with the Australian Red Cross Blood Service by calling 13 14 95 or book online. At your appointment let the staff know that you wish to join the Australian Bone Marrow Donor Registry and they will take a small blood sample. You may also do a standard blood donation while you are there so it’s double the good deed!

Please be aware that the eligibility for donating blood is different and generally more strict than the eligibility to join The Registry. If you are not eligible to donate blood, the staff at the blood service can still take your blood sample so you can join The Registry.

To find your nearest Red Cross blood donor centre visit (on the website you can enter your post code and your nearest centre details will be displayed including a map).