Join the Finnish Stem Cell Registry

Stem cell transplantation is used for several purposes, including as a last resort for people with leukaemia.

You could be the one who saves a life

There are currently not enough donors to find a match for every patient. Anyone who is 18–35 years old and in good overall health can join the Stem Cell Registry.

Find out if you can join

You can join conveniently from home

  1. Take an online test to see if you can join.
  2. Fill in the membership form.
  3. You will receive saliva sample collection kits by post. Take the samples from the inside of your cheek.
  4. Send back the saliva samples in the pre-paid envelope provided.
  5. You are now a member!
The samples taken as part of joining the registry are taken from the inside of the cheek using a cotton swab.

Stem cells collected from young donors give the best results

We are especially looking for young donors under the age of 36, because stem cells collected from young donors give better treatment outcomes. The current average age of donors is 30 years.

Find out if you can join

Why do we need more men to join the register?

Due to biological reasons, men are more likely to be suitable donors than women. Men are, on average, larger than women, which means they can give more stem cells.

Currently, only 30 per cent of the Stem Cell Registry’s members are men, but 60 per cent of selected donors are male.

Finns have rare tissue types

It is essential for a successful stem cell transplant that the donor’s tissue type is the same as the patient’s. In most cases, a suitable donor can be found in Finland. Nonetheless, there are currently dozens of patients for whom a suitable donor cannot be found in the registry. The more members and, as a result, tissue types the Stem Cell Registry has, the more likely it is that a suitable donor can be found for a patient.

Heaven and hell

“We were sitting at the paediatric clinic with my one-and-a-half-year-old daughter Laina and my wife Kirsti, and I had a tightness in my chest like nothing I’d ever felt before. It felt like we were on the last shore with no hope of salvation.”

Experience of a stem cell transplant recipient

Donating stem cells is safe

Preliminary questions and extensive medical examinations are used to ensure that donating stem cells does not cause any harm to the donor. There is no risk of becoming paralysed when donating stem cells. Moderate back pain and flu symptoms may occur, but they can usually be treated with painkillers.

Find out how stem cell donation works

All expenses are reimbursed

Donors are reimbursed all expenses resulting from donating stem cells, such as travel, accommodation and meals.

Donation leads to approximately one week of paid sick leave. All expenses incurred due to sick leave are covered by the Blood Service.

The practicalities of stem cell donations

From member to donor

The Stem Cell Registry is essentially a reserve that is used to find a perfect tissue type match for each patient. The likelihood of an individual member being asked to donate is relatively small: less than 2 per cent. Each year, only 30–50 members of the Stem Cell Registry are selected for donation. These members get the privilege of saving a life.

Join the Stem Cell Registry

What does donating stem cells feel like?

95 per cent of donors would be ready to donate again. For example, Joni, who donated when he was 23 years old, said it was “The best thing I’ve done in my life.

”Listen to Joni’s story on our podcast, Hengenpelastajat (in Finnish)!

Read more about donors’ experiences