Bone marrow donation
If you are on the bone marrow register and identified as a possible match for someone, you may be asked to provide a blood sample. This will enable further checks on your tissue type to be made.
If your tissue type matches the patient who requires bone marrow, you may be selected to donate. You will have a full medical examination and receive Counselling about the procedure.
There are two ways of donating bone marrow. The first and most widely used method is known as a peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) donation. The second method involves donation of the bone marrow itself.
Peripheral blood stem cell donation (PBSC) is a procedure that allows you to donate stem cells from your circulating bloodwithout having to directly donate any bone marrow.
Every day for four days before the PBSC donation takes place, you will receive an injection of a medication called Granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF). This will increase the number of stem cells in your blood. Stem cells produce a variety of blood cells, including red blood cells that carry oxygen around your body.
Common side effects ofG-CSF include:
Less common side effects include:
These side effects are usually mild and should pass once treatment withG-CSF has stopped.
On the fifth day, you will be connected to a special machine thatseparates the stem cells from your blood. These are collected into a pack for use.
The advantage of having a PBSC is that you do notneed to have a general anaesthetic , and you will not have to stay in hospital overnight. It takes around four or five hours to donate this way. Occasionally, a donation is also needed on the sixth day to top up the total number of stem cells.
In bone marrow donation, a syringe is used to remove bone marrow from your hip bones. Although this is not a surgical operation, it is usually carried out under a general anaesthetic to stop you feeling any pain during the procedure.
After donating bone marrow, you may experience some discomfort at the site where the needle was inserted into your hip, but this should gradually settle. You will usually need to stay in hospital forup to 48hours to make sure you have recovered fully from the general anaesthetic.
After the donation procedure, it usually takes about five days to fully recover from the effects of the anaesthetic. It is recommendedyou stay at home and restduring this period.
PBSC and traditional bone marrow donation are both extremely safe procedures that have a small level of associated risk.
Around one in every 100 people will experience a complication during or followingPBSC and bone marrow donation. For example,an infection close to where the needle was inserted to collect stem cells. In rare cases, a person may experience a serious allergic reaction to the general anaesthetic used during a bone marrow donation.
A bone marrow donation is a relatively straightforward medical procedure. Diseased or damaged bone marrow can be replaced by donated bone marrow cells, which help treat and often cure many life-threatening conditions
Bone marrow transplants are required when a persons bone marrow becomes damaged or diseased to such an extent that it stops functioning properly
Bone marrow donors must have a tissue type that is compatible with the person who is going to receive their bone marrow. If a suitable bone marrow donor cannot be found from family members, doctors will try to find someone with a compatible tissue type on the bone marrow donor register.
If you are on the bone marrow register and you are identified as a potential donor, you may be asked to provide a blood sample. If your tissue type matches the patient who requires bone marrow, you may be selected to donate.
If you would like to become a potential bone marrow donor, you must be 18 to 49 years of age, in good general health and over 7 stone 12 pounds (50kg) in weight
Bridie Burrell was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia during the Christmas school holidays in 2004. She had a bone marrow transplant the following year.