Ethnic Minorities Face Unique Challenges to Find a Match

Bone marrow donations must be matched to very specific genetic markers which are overwhelmingly more likely to appear in donors of the same race/ethnicity1. Due to the low numbers of minorities registered as donors, patients from ethnic minority groups have a harder time locating a suitable donor.

The likelihood of a caucasian patient finding a suitable donor in the bone marrow registry is 93%. The likelihood of a minority patient finding a suitable donor in the bone marrow registry is between 66-73%, depending on the specific ethnicity.2

While it's difficult to know exactly what causes this disparity, we have some guesses.

Footnotes

  1. "The Need for Donors." http://marrow.org/Get_Involved/Grow_the_Registry/The_Need_for_Donors.aspx
  2. Statistics provided directly from Be The Match.