Stem Cells

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Whether you’re having trouble with your account, or would like to make a suggestion, Canadian Blood Services offers you quick and convenient options to troubleshoot or get in touch. Contact us via live chat, consult our FAQ, send an email, or give us a call at 1 888 2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283).

What Happens If I’m a Match?

Stem cell donor and recipient

Learning You’re a Match is a Life-Changing Moment

Mike will never forget it. He joined the OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network after reading a post on a friend’s Facebook page—and a few months later was identified as a potential match for Huw. He never expected to be a match, let alone so soon, and says he was humbled and “blown away” by the experience. Having met his recipient, Huw, he is extremely happy to have helped save his life.


The best hope for any patient is the list of potential donors in the OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network or other registries around the world—all of which are searched when someone needs a transplant. Today, OneMatch provides access to more than 23 million donors.


Every patient search is different

When you join the OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network, a sample of your DNA is obtained to identify your human leukocyte antigens (HLA), which are recorded in our database for patient searches. HLAs are genetic markers in the proteins of white blood cells inherited from our parents. A number of antigens have been identified as important when matching donors and patients: the closer the match between patient and donor, the better the outcome.

Some patients have many potential donors because they have inherited common antigens and their markers are inherited in a common combination of gene forms. These markers occur with varying frequency in different ethnic groups: those common in Caucasians, for example, may rarely be found in the Asian community, and vice versa. While not always the case, patients are more likely to find donors in their own ethnic communities, which makes a diverse donor base extremely important.

What happens if you’re chosen to donate?

Get the full details of the donation process.

If you’re chosen to donate, you’ll be contacted by a registered nurse from OneMatch who will guide you through the donation process. You will be required to complete a physical examination and routine medical tests. These ensure you are healthy and physically able to be a donor, and determine the full extent of your compatibility. If you have questions or concerns, it is important to raise them at this stage: if you agree to proceed, the patient will be notified and his or her pre-transplant treatment will begin.