The actual registration process is very simple and completely painless. The only restrictions are age (18-60 in the U.S., 17-50 in Canada), that you are in generally good health, and are willing to donate to anyone in need. Simply complete a short questionnaire with your contact information and yes/no answers to basic health questions. This can be done online or in person at a donor clinic or a recruitment drive, which is often coordinated through a blood bank affiliated with one of the registries. In the U.S., the cost for donor testing is, on average, $52. You may be asked to pay all or part of this tax-deductible cost when you join; sponsors sometimes provide funds to offset the cost of typing (visit www.BeTheMatch.org or call 1-800-MARROW-2 for information). In Canada, registration is free for all residents (go to www.OneMatch.ca or call 1-888-2-DONATE). The whole process takes 5-10 minutes.
Shortly after registering online, you will be mailed a kit containing four cheek swabs: simply swab the inside of your cheeks as directed in the instructions, and mail them back to the registry. That’s all you need to do. The registry lab will analyze the swabs for HLA type, and the registry securely stores this data in their own database.