Race, education, and knowledge of bone marrow registry: indicators of willingness to donate bone marrow among African Americans and Caucasians.Transplant Proc. 2004 Dec; 36(10):3212-9.TP
As bone marrow transplantation (BMT) increases, the availability of suitable donors becomes critical, especially for African Americans, who require a large donor pool to find a suitable match. Previous studies indicated willingness to donate marrow may be a barrier for achieving a large donor pool.
We conducted a random-sample, statewide telephone survey of 421 Caucasians and 408 African Americans in South Carolina to determine if racial differences in willingness to donate bone marrow exist. We assessed a general level of willingness, asking, "Will you be willing to be a marrow donor?" We assessed an additional level of willingness, asking, "Are you willing to be contacted about bone marrow donation?"
We detected no racial differences in general willingness to donate (Caucasians 34%, African Americans 32%, P=.52), although there was a difference in willingness to be contacted to sign-up for the registry (Caucasians 18.3%, African Americans 11%, P=.003). African Americans were more aware that better matches occur within the same race (P <.0001). Caucasians were more knowledgeable about the registry (P <.0001). Younger, more highly educated respondents indicated a greater willingness to be donors. In both races, fear of pain was the most common reason for unwillingness to donate, and it was significantly higher in African Americans.
Our study suggests reported lack of general willingness does not explain the racial disparities in BMT. Many who expressed willingness to donate were not willing to be contacted to sign up for the registry, especially African Americans. Education and adequate pain control may improve minority recruitment.