There are certain health criteria that determine if someone is eligible for stem cell donation. These criteria are created to protect the long-term health of both donors and patients.
Additionally, patients who need a stem cell transplant are more likely to find a matching donor among those who share their ethnic ancestry. If you come from an ethnically diverse or mixed-race background, you could be the match they’ve been waiting for.
Am I eligible?
We encourage you to join Canada's national stem cell registry if you are:
Between the ages of 17 and 35.
In good general health.
Free of infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, or hepatitis B and C.
Free of health issues, including cancer, blood diseases, insulin-dependent diabetes, certain heart conditions, etc.
Willing to be a donor to any patient in need.
Covered under provincial, military or RCMP health plans.
Québec residents interested in becoming stem cell donors must register with Héma-Québec.
Why our registry needs more diversity
Canada's national stem registry should be as diverse as our country.
Many people have difficulty finding a match due to a lack of diversity in stem cell registries around the world. We need donors from as many ethnic and mixed-race backgrounds as possible.
Some patients have many potential donors because they have inherited commonly found genetic markers on their white blood cells. These markers occur with varying frequency in different ethnic groups, for instance, those common in Caucasians may rarely be found in the Asian community, and vice versa.
While not always the case, patients are more likely to find a matching donor among those who share their ethnic ancestry, which makes an ethnically diverse donor base extremely important. If you come from an ethnically diverse or mixed-race background, your donation could be the lifesaving match a patient has been waiting for.
Registering to be a stem cell donor
Learn the registration process for joining our stem cell registry.
Step 2 Send your swab kit back to the stem cell registry
Follow the instructions to pack up your kit and return it to us in the prepaid envelope. We'll process your swab sample for HLA typing (genetic testing), and we'll notify you once you become officially searchable on the registry for patients in need.
Step 3 Keep your contact information up to date
Your match could be found in a month or several years from now. The best way you can prepare is to make sure we can reach you when the time comes. If your contact information changes at any time, please update Your Profile by logging in to your Canadian Blood Services account, or contact us.
How does stem cell donation work?
A blood stem cell donation from a healthy donor replaces a recipient patient's unhealthy stem cells to help heal and re-boost their immune system. Once a registered donor is selected as a match, a registered nurse will be with you every step of the way.