Generally speaking, most countries allow stem cell donors to contact “their” patients beginning from the day of the transplant. However, because of the minimum two-year anonymity period, you can only contact them anonymously, by letter or email.
To ensure the anonymity rule is adhered to, DKMS-BMST acts as a go-between, forwarding your letters to the patient or their transplant clinic. Please make sure you quote your donor number on any correspondence, as this is the only way we can match it to the right patient. For legal reasons, your letter will be checked by a DKMS-BMST employee, as we are under an obligation to redact any references that could compromise your anonymity. These may include your name, initials, place of residence or similar identifying information, all of which could be traced back to you personally. We hope you understand.
If “your” recipient is receiving treatment abroad, please write to them in English.
If you have any questions, we’ll be happy to help.
Waiting for an answer
If you write to your patient, please be aware that you may not hear back for a while, if at all. Your patient may need time, as they may still be undergoing intensive treatment or not want any contact. After all, contacting someone is a very personal decision for both sides – the recipient of your stem cells, and you.
In our experience, many patients only respond to a donor after quite some time, as they often only want to report back when their health has stabilized and they have some progress and other positive things to tell you about. Ultimately, anonymous contact by letter with someone you’ve never met only offers a limited scope to open up about a difficult life situation.
Why does the anonymity period exist?
The anonymity period applies in India and most countries in the world. In the first two years after stem cell donation or stem cell transplantation, the donor and patient are generally not allowed to meet in person. There are important reasons for this, for example:
- During this time, the patient is in a situation that takes a lot of physical and emotional strength. It is important for him or her to concentrate calmly on recovery.
- It happens that patients need a second stem cell donation within the first two years. This is another reason why it is so important that anonymity is guaranteed in these cases, just as it is with the first donation. The anonymity enables the donor to wait for a second donation, the probability of a second donation is significantly lower, even if this possibility can never be completely ruled out.