4 Essential Things You Need to Know About Bone Marrow Donation
Even though doctors are using an autologous stem cell transplant to help treat it- a procedure that involves the extraction of the patient’s own stem cells for use in transplantation later is not deemed that effective.
So, physicians would opt for another stem cell that involves the use of a donor’s stem cells. People think that the best stem cell match comes from the patient’s immediate family, but it is just not the case at all.
In fact, the doctors can only find a suitable donor from the patient’s own family only 25% of the time, which is quite surprising, to say the least.
That being said, stem cell donation is encouraged as it can really help save a lot of lives. If you’re looking to donate your own stem cells, here are the essential things that you need to know about it first:
1. What Should You Do?
Well, to donate your stem cells, you need to go to a bone marrow registry. This is a federal-funded non-profit organization that aims to receive stem cell donations of any type, especially ones from the bone marrow.
You can contact them via the internet and they will get in touch with you at the soonest possible time. They will usually have you go to their place where you will be extracted for your stem cells.
You need to be at least at the age of 18 up to a maximum of 44. You have to be at least of legal age so that you can sign an informed consent form on your own. You also need to be below 44 to donate since it is at this age group wherein you can provide the best quality stem cells for use in transplantation.
With that being said, once you arrive at the scene, you will then be assessed if you are eligible to donate your own stem cells.
2. Types of Donation
Once you are assessed, the doctor will then tell you the best possible way you can donate your stem cells. There are actually two types of stem cell donation being done in the registry: PBSC and the Bone Marrow itself.
PBSC or the Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Donation requires you to take a certain drug called Filgrastim that will increase the stem cell count in your bloodstream. This is a non-invasive procedure which means that you do not have to undergo surgery for stem cell extraction.
The bone marrow stem cell donation is a bit different, though. For one, it requires you to go under the knife since needless will be inserted in your pelvic bone which will extract the fluid that contains the stem cells.
3. The Duration
The duration varies depending on the type of stem cell donation you’re going to go through. If you go for the PBSC donation, you will have to give 20-30 hours spread across 4-6 weeks for the entire procedure to finish.
For bone marrow donations, it is much quicker since it will only last up to 1-2 hours depending on the number of stem cells that are required.
Both are outpatient procedures and doesn’t require you to spend a night on the hospital (although in some cases, you can).
4. What If I Can’t Donate
If you have a generally good heart, but you’re not allowed to donate your own stem cells, you can still help by making a small cash donation to the registry’s cause.