To determine whether a family member is a match, a DNA test is required. A sample of cells from the inner cheek or a sample of blood is sent to a special DNA testing laboratory. If the person is a match, he or she will undergo a physical examination to determine if he or she is healthy enough to be a donor. The donor's stem cells must have similar genetic markers as the patient’s. These markers are called human leukocyte antigens or HLA type. It is usual to start by testing the brothers and sisters, as they are likely to provide the best match; parents are not usually good matches. There is a 35 percent chance that a patient will have a sibling whose bone marrow is a perfect match. If the patient has no matched sibling, a donor may be located in one of the international bone marrow donor registries or a mis-matched transplant (Haploidentical) may be considered.
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