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Bone Marrow Disorders: Donors

Volume 501: debated on Wednesday 25 November 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how much his Department has spent on advertising for the recruitment of bone marrow donors in each of the last 12 years; and if he will make a statement; (300668)

(2) what proportion of people who were on the Blood Donor Register were also on the Bone Marrow Donor Register on the latest date for which figures are available;

(3) how many registered stem cell donors there were in each year since registration began;

(4) what proportion of bone marrow donors were resident in (a) England, (b) Wales, (c) Northern Ireland and (d) Scotland in each of the last 12 years.

The British Bone Marrow Registry (BBMR) is run by the NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT). Bone marrow donors are recruited from the existing pool of blood donors.

Therefore, the promotion of bone marrow donation is carried out in conjunction with blood donor promotion campaigns. Examples include the NHSBT website, The Donor magazine, which is sent to 1.4 million donors, and promotional material at blood collection sessions. It is not possible, therefore, to provide an exact figure for the amount spent on advertising exclusively for the recruitment of bone marrow donors.

Not all of those currently on the British Bone Marrow Register will still be active blood donors, although at the time of joining the BBMR all would have been registered as blood donors. As of September 2009, the estimated figures supplied by NHSBT for bone marrow donors on the blood donor register were:

Region

Number

Percentage

Midlands and South West

93,369

30

Northern

101,548

33

London and South East

92,712

30

Northern Ireland

9,060

3

Scotland

13,823

4.5

Note:

Numbers in Wales are not held.

The number of donors on the BBMR for the years 2001-02 to 2008-09 are listed as follows. The totals do not represent the availability of donors as this can fluctuate for many different reasons. We do not have figures for the Welsh Bone Marrow Donor Registry.

Total

2001-02

149,500

2002-03

154,500

2003-04

176,500

2004-05

210,500

2005-06

250,500

2006-07

267,100

2007-08

283,700

2008-09

292,100

In addition to the British Bone Marrow Register, stem cell donations are also sourced from the NHS Cord Blood Bank, which at present has around 13,000 stored umbilical cord blood units.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the merits of using DNA swabs to identify matches for bone marrow donors. (300672)

The British Bone Marrow Registry recruits donors from the blood donor population. The tissue type of a donor is identified through tests carried out on samples collected during blood donation, which is believed to be a more stable medium than DNA swabs. As there is currently no requirement for additional tests such as DNA swabs to be carried out, no such assessment has been made.