Donation Process

Preparing for your donation:

  1. If you match a patient, we will contact you to ask if you are willing to donate. If you agree to proceed, we will ask you about your health and schedule more testing to see if you are the best match for the patient.
  2. If you are the best match, you will participate in an information session and be given detailed information about the entire process, including risks and side effects. If you agree to donate, you will sign a consent form.
  3. Next, you will have a physical examination to make sure that donation is safe for both you and the patient. 

Your Donation:

There are two ways to donate. The patient's doctor chooses the donation method that is best for the patient.

  • Peripheral Blood Stem Cell (PBSC) donation is a nonsurgical procedure that takes place at a blood center or outpatient hospital unit. For 5 days leading up to donation, you will be given injections of a drug called filgrastim to increase the number of blood-forming cells in your bloodstream. Your blood is then removed through a needle in one arm and passed through a machine that separates out the blood-forming cells. The remaining blood is returned to you through the other arm. This process is conducted in approximately 75% of all stem cell/bone marrow donations.
  • Bone marrow donation is a surgical procedure in which liquid marrow is withdrawn from the back of the donor's pelvic bones using special, hollow needles. General or regional anesthesia is always used for this procedure, so donors feel no pain during their donation. Most donors feel some pain in their lower back for a few days afterwards.

For more information about the donation process, click here.

Watch our donation videos to learn more:

Watch this step-by-step video to learn about every step of the donation process and more!

Congratulations! You are a potential match for a patient in need of a marrow/stem cell transplant... but what does that mean?