Facts About Bone Marrow Donation
Donating your own bone marrow stem cells is a noble deed because it might save the life of a patient! But that being said, there are a lot of misconceptions and myths surrounding bone marrow donation which I hope to quash in this article.
If you’re thinking of donating yours, read through so that you will be informed. The information contained in this article is factual and it can be a basis for you so that you can decide if you want to donate or not. So, without further ado, here are some facts about bone marrow donation that you should know about:
1. The Age Requirement
For you to donate bone marrow stem cells in the first place, you need to be at least at the age of 18.
The reason is that you will be given an informed consent and a consent form will not be given to anyone who is below that age (because you have to be of legal age to get one).
That being said, the maximum age limit for bone marrow donors would be 60 years old. Anyone older than that might still donate, but it will be at the discretion of the people in the bone marrow registry.
2. The Registry
Now, you’ve probably noticed that I talk about the bone marrow registry, but what exactly is it? Well, it is a federally funded, non-profit organization that handles all of the bone marrow stem cell donations in the area. Not all countries have this, though, so it is best that you ask around if there is one in your area.
3. Relative or Unrelated?
If an Autologous Transplant fails, a suitable donor would be called upon so that their bone marrow stem cells will be used. Most people think that the best donor would be someone in their immediate family and although this is true in some cases, it is just not what happens in the real world.
You see, a person can find a suitable donor in their immediate family only 25% of the time. Most of the donors would be someone who is completely unrelated that is why there is a need for a bone marrow registry so that people can just donate to have a chance to save a patient’s life.
4. Is it Painful to Donate?
This is probably one of the most stubborn myths out there regarding bone marrow donation. Donating your bone marrow stem cells is not painful, per se, because you’re given some general anesthesia before the doctor will extract your bone marrow cells.
The procedure is relatively pain-free; the only time that you will experience a slight pain would be when the doctor inserts the needle and that’s about it.
You may experience some soreness in the area where the needle is inserted days after the extraction process, but for the most part, it is not painful at all!
5. The Types of Stem Cell Donation
There are actually two types of stem cell donation. One is known as the PBSC or the Peripheral Blood Stem Cell donation and the other is the bone marrow stem cell donation.
The former is where you’re given a drug five days prior to the extraction. The drug will enhance the production of your own stem cells so that it will be easier to harvest once the procedure is done.
The latter is where your bone marrow will be inserted by two needles that will extract the much-needed stem cells from the site.
Do note that you may experience some side effects during or after the procedures are done. Some known side effects include soreness, nausea, flu-like symptoms, headaches, and loss of appetite.
However, you also have to know that there is a chance that you will not experience any side effects at all.
You can pretty much live normally after 2-7 days. However, for your stem cells to recover, it can probably last up to 4-6 weeks. Still, you will feel normal as if nothing has happened.