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9 June, 2009

Free at the point of use

As always, the US National Marrow Donor Program is seeking potential donors of bone marrow.  One statistic surprised me, but another was incomprehensible.

Firstly, it's reported that 70% of patients with leukemia, lymphoma or other diseases do not have an eligible donor within their own families so depend on the registry of unrelated donors.

Secondly, in the USA donors have to pay to donate.
This literally challenges my ability to comprehend how their healthcare industry functions. How could a $52 fee be anything other than an obstruction to saving lives? How could a nation operating such a system claim to be civilised?
For key social groups such as low-income immigrants, who may be of particular value to the system (donor compatibility is often related to race), that fee might be prohibitive. Even for wealthier potential donors, it may be too-easily used as an excuse (including to oneself); a commenter on BoingBoing's report of a special 'free offer' mentions not being able to afford to be a donor whilst a student.

Please consider joining the British Bone Marrow Registry. It's free.


That's astounding. Maybe they can offset some of the cost by "donating" (ie. selling) some blood?

In Canada, BTW, the registry (called OneMatch) is also free to join. I would encourage any other Canadians reading this site to register, too!

Posted by Jon. at June 9, 2009 04:43 PM

Follow-up for your USAian readers: apparently, it's currently free to join the US National Marrow Donor Program as well - but only until they reach 46,000 new registrants!

Join now, Americans, before they jack up the price!

Posted by Jon. at June 11, 2009 04:32 PM
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