Registry Access

The Gift of Life Registry is universally accessible to any patient worldwide needing an unrelated donor or cord blood unit for transplantation. Transplant coordinators can utilize any one of five methods to perform searches of the Registry:

  • Logon to Bone Marrow Donors Worldwide* ( and perform a search. Effective January 1998, the Registry participates in BMDW and transfers updates of its file monthly. If potential donors or cord blood units are listed with the designation USA4 or U4CB, contact Gift of Life to submit a preliminary search request.
  • Logon to the Gift of Life's MatchQuest system to submit a preliminary search request on our secure server.
  • Gift of Life is an affiliate donor registry of the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP). Effective May 2004, patient searches of the NMDP will routinely include searches of Gift of Life's registry.
  • Gift of Life is a participant in the European Marrow Donor Information System (EMDIS). Its donors and cord blood units may be requested by any international registry that particpates in EMDIS.

Gift of Life is not in the practice of medicine. While it is the transplant centers that ultimately are responsible for selecting donors or cord blood units they deem to be most suitable for their patients, Gift of Life has standardized on the following criteria:

  • Diseases and disease stages treatable by hematopoietic cell transplantation are those promulgated by the National Marrow Donor Program.
  • Transplant Centers are responsible for donor selection. However, the minimal match criteria for the Registry’s Marrow Donor Program require at least a 6/8 match at an antigen level (serologic split) for HLA A, B, C and DR; and the minimal match criteria for the Registry’s Cord Blood Program require at least a 4/6 match at an antigen level (serologic split) for HLA A, B and DR. Minimal match criteria must be met prior to donation for a specific patient. Exceptions may be made by the Registry Medical Director in cases when no other more appropriate donor or CBU is available.
  • A transplant center may request a particular donor to make a maximum of two subsequent donations for the same recipient. All requests require the approval of the Medical Director. The product that may be requested is dependent upon prior product(s) donated, the time frame since the prior donation and the donor’s eligibility and suitability to donate as established by the Collection Center. Contact Gift of Life for further details on the policy.
Preliminary searches of the Gift of Life Registry may be ordered by physicians, transplant centers and international registry search coordinating units. A transplant center or international registry must order formal search activation for additional donor testing. We recommend that all searches be initiated in this manner in order to expedite the process.

Note Concerning Cord Blood
Beginning on October 20, 2011, all requests to distribute cord blood units for transplantation in the United States will be subject to FDA licensure requirements as a biologic drug, categorized as licensed or unlicensed. Transplant centers will only be able to access unlicensed cord blood units under an FDA-accepted Investigational New Drug application. For more information, click here.

We highly encourage all patients and families to access the National Marrow Donor Program's Transplant Center Access Directory. This online guide provides detailed information on the search process, registries, transplant centers and much more.

* BMDW is an international collaborative effort coordinated by the Europdonor Foundation at Leiden University Medical Centre in the Netherlands. The organization collects and disseminates the HLA phenotypes of volunteer bone marrow donors and cord blood units from registries around the world.

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