Whether you are a relative that closely matches your loved one who needs your stem cells or bone marrow, or you have joined a bone marrow registry, your willingness to step forward and give of yourself will absolutely change someone’s life.
- If you are a relative of the patient and would like to be tested, we will coordinate this part of the transplant process.
- If you are an unrelated, close match donor, you will come with the patient to meet the BMT transplant team and review your role as a donor. During the meeting, the transplant team will discuss the donation process with you. All of your questions will be answered and you will have a health evaluation. The transplant team will ask you to sign consent forms. This initial part of the pre-transplant process generally takes three full days to complete.
As the date of the transplant draws near, you will return to have your blood drawn. The team will update your medical history, and you will have a complete physical examination. To obtain stem cells we will either:
- Withdraw bone marrow from your pelvic bone with a technique called harvesting. This is a surgical procedure where you will receive anesthesia.
- Collect stem cells from your blood using a technique called apheresis. To accomplish this, your bone marrow will be stimulated to produce more stem cells than normal and to release them into your bloodstream. A few days later, your stem cells will be collected and you will be able to leave the same day.
If you would like to join a donor registry to donate bone marrow or stem cells for someone who doesn’t have a matched relative available to donate, or if you would like to donate cord blood when your baby is born, you can do so through one these groups:
- National Marrow Donor Program
- Gift of Life
National Marrow Donor Program
The National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) was started in 1986 to serve as a national database of tissue types from individuals willing to donate marrow to patients needing a marrow transplant. Since that time, the registry, now called the Be The Match® Registry, has over 8 million individuals registered. It is linked with registries all over the world, making it an international registry to serve any patient needing a transplant anywhere in the world.