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Bone Marrow

Bone Marrow

If You Are a Match

If you match a patient in need of a transplant, we will notify you. We will first ask if you are still willing and able to donate. Many years may have passed since you registered. Your health and circumstances may have changed. Every step in becoming an unrelated marrow donor is voluntary. You can withdraw from the registry at any time.

To decide if you are perfectly compatible with the patient, you will undergo additional blood and tissue tests, and receive a complete physical examination to make sure you are well enough to donate. You will also be thoroughly informed and counseled about the process of donation and your options as a donor.

If you are a perfect match with the patient, are in good health and consent to donate, we will ask you to donate blood stem cells in one of two ways:

  • Marrow Donation: At a local hospital, a doctor will remove marrow from the back of your pelvic bone using a special needle and syringe. You will be under either general or local anesthesia during the procedure. The amount of marrow needed depends upon the size of the patient receiving the donation. This procedure may require hospitalization overnight. The greatest risk to you is from the anesthesia. Your hip and lower back may be sore for several days comparable to falling on ice and having muscle soreness. The donation of marrow will not affect your white cell or platelet count and the marrow is replaced naturally in 4 -6 weeks.

  • Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Donation: Blood stem cells are also found in circulating blood. You will take a drug to stimulate the growth of blood stem cells. The cells are then collected using a process called apherisis. While you relax on a specially designed couch, your blood is passed through a sterile machine that collects the cells and returns the blood to you.

Peripheral Blood Stem Cells can be donated by apherisis

You will not choose the method of collection. The patient's doctor will decide what method is best to treat the patient's specific condition.

The cost of additional testing, counseling and collection of your blood stem cells will be paid for by the patient's insurance. As a donor you will contribute time and a little bit of yourself to save a life.

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