Ethnic Minorities Face Unique Challenges to Find a Match
The likelihood of a caucasian patient finding a suitable donor in the bone marrow registry is 97%. The likelihood of a minority patient finding a suitable donor in the bone marrow registry may be as low as 76%, depending on the specific ethnicity.2
Unfortunately statistics indicate that 50% of minority donors, when contacted to donate, do not go through with the donation. This further decreases the likelihood of a marrow match for ethnic minorities.
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.
While it’s difficult to know exactly what causes this disparity, we have some guesses.