Frequently Asked Questions
So, for you inquisitive types,
here's some answers to questions I've been getting alot:

Q: What's your blood type?
Actually, it's not blood type that we're trying to match, it's tissue type, which is a different thing altogether. While there are only four main blood types, there are millions and millions of different tissue types, which is why it's so difficult to find a match. In case you're curious, my tissue type is A2 / B48 / DR1101 / A26 / B35 / DR0406.

Q: Why are Asians more likely to match you? What about someone who's part Asian?
A: There are six "antigens" that determine tissue type which must match up between donor and recipient in order to have a so-called "perfect match." For each of the six, there may be several to thousands of variations. Finding a perfect match is kinda like winning the lottery. Some antigens are found only among certain ethnic groups; others are more common to many different groups. In my case, five of them seem to occur with some frequency among non-Asians, but not the sixth. This pesky DR0406 antigen is quite rare and found only among Asians. So, if you have any Asian ancestry, there's a chance that you have the DR0406 antigen and you may match me.

Q: Does it cost anything to register?
In the US, if you’re Asian or another ethnic minority, it’s FREE to register as a bone marrow donor. Caucasians usually have to pay some of the costs associated with testing. I know this may sound unfair, but it’s because there are already so many Caucasians registered that most Caucasian patients find a match. In contrast, there are very few Asians and other ethnic minorities registered, so all costs are waived to encourage more people from these groups to register.

Q: How will I know if I match you?
A: The donor center where you register will call you if you match me or anyone else needing a transplant. There is a confidentiality policy, however, that prohibits the identity of the donor or recipient to be known to each other until one year after the transplant.

Q: If I match you and decide to donate, who pays the hospital and medical costs associated with donating?
A: My insurance would cover the costs.

Q: Does it hurt to donate?
A: You won’t feel anything during the actual procedure because you’ll either be out completely (under general anesthesia) or numb from the waist down. Afterwards, most people feel sore in the butt for a few days, kinda like if you had fallen down while iceskating (or rollerblading, for you hip California types…..)

Q: What is marrow anyway?
A: It’s the stuff inside your bones that makes blood. It’s a liquid and actually looks a lot like blood. Just like blood, your body replenishes its own supply. So, unlike donating an organ like a kidney or something, when you donate some of your marrow, your body replaces it within a couple weeks.

Q: I think I registered before as a marrow donor. Am I still registered, or do I have to do it again?
A: Once you register with the National Marrow Donor Program, you’re on the registry until you’re 60 years old. If you’re not sure if you actually registered, call the donor center where you think you registered and have them check their records.

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