Marrow Donor Program

The National Marrow Donor Program takes Commit for Life one step further. Every year, thousands of adults and children need bone marrow or stem cell transplants – a procedure which may be their only chance for survival. The National Marrow Donor Program's ( NMDP ) mission is to establish a system which provides transplants of stem cells from unrelated donors to patients with leukemia and other life-threatening blood diseases.

In 1991, Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center was recognized as an accredited donor center for the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP), educating and recruiting over 80,000 potential donors. Of those donors, 167 have gone on to donate marrow to patients around the world.

There is a critical need for more volunteer donors. Many patients, especially people of color, cannot find a compatible donor among those already on the registry. Patients and donors must have matching tissue types, and these matches are found most often between people of the same ethnic group. A large, ethnically diverse group of prospective donors will give more patients a chance for survival.

If you are interested in being a potential lifesaving marrow donor, please consider giving the small blood sample necessary to be placed on the registry. You could save the life of Payton or one of the thousands whose lives depend upon a marrow transplant.

All Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center Neighborhood Donor Centers will be accepting those interested in becoming marrow donors.

For more information, call 713-791-6697.

Frequently Asked Questions about NMDP:

How does NMDP Work?

  • The NMDP matches volunteer stem cell donors with patients, arranges collections and transportation of stem cells, and manages patient support and research programs.

What are stem cells?

  • Stem cells are the cells transplant patients need to help produce healthy new marrow. These cells are very important because once they mature they can develop into any of the cells present in the blood stream - red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.

Who needs a stem cell transplant?

  • Stem cell transplants are most often used to treat leukemia and other life-threatening blood diseases. Every year, over 30,000 children and adults in the U.S. are diagnosed with diseases for which a stem cell transplant can be a cure. Only 30 percent will find a matched donor in their families. The other 70 percent must search for an unrelated donor.

What is the chance of matching a patient?

  • The odds vary widely, depending on the rarity of the donor's tissue type. This means a volunteer may never be called. However, if identified as a match, the volunteer may be the only person who can provide live-saving stem cells to that patient.

How can I join the registry?

  • You can send an e-mail or call Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center at 1-888-GV-BLOOD (1-888-482-5663) or 713-790-1200 and ask for the Bone Marrow department.