Connecting people with patients

Donor Registry Status Report

ABMDR has released its overview of the state of the Donor Registry as at the end of 2021.

Australia is a major unrelated blood stem cell transplanting nation

Although the pandemic has temporarily reduced the number of transplants performed, Australia has one of the highest rates (per million inhabitants) of performing blood stem cell transplants globally.

Yet Australian patients are increasingly dependent on overseas donors

Unlike other major transplanting nations, who have on average halved their dependency on foreign donors in the last decade, Australia’s dependency has steadily increased to around 8 out of 10 Australian patients relying on an overseas donor. This has posed additional risks and challenges during the pandemic.

Australia’s donor pool no longer meets Australian patient needs

Significantly more Australian donors need to be urgently recruited. In the last 5 years, global growth in donors aged under 35 was, on average, 188%. Although impressive, major transplanting nations doubled the average global growth rate; except Australia, which grew by just 24%.

It’s no longer enough to only recruit blood donors

Commonwealth, state and territory governments have committed to reducing Australia’s dependency on overseas donors.  To achieve meaningful improvement, ABMDR has identified that our donor pool should contain 3% of Australia’s population of 18-35 year olds. This can be delivered by the additional recruitment of non-blood donors, with easy to use cheek swabs.

Swabs have been used for over a decade outside Australia, recruiting around 20 million donors 

ABMDR’s Strength to Give initiative has proved that cheek swabs are a successful, cost-effective way of recruiting lots of Australian donors. We are now seeking approval from Commonwealth, state and territory governments to resume Strength to Give’s cheek swab program, and expand it to deliver the donor pool Australian patients deserve.