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Types of Donations

There are two ways you can donate:

  • Peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) donation - requested in 74% of cases
  • Bone marrow donation - requested in 26% of cases 

PBSC Donation

  • A procedure that harvests blood-forming cells (also found in bone marrow) from circulating (peripheral) blood
  • A non-surgical procedure called apheresis
  • Takes place in an experienced blood donation center or outpatient hospital facility
  • For 5 days leading up to the donation, you will be given injections of a medication called filgrastim to increase the number of blood-forming cells (peripheral stem cells) in your bloodstream
  • On the day of your donation, blood is removed through a needle in one arm and passed through a machine that collects only the stem cells
  • The remaining blood is returned through a needle in your other arm
  • 90% of procedures are completed in one day, which may take up to 8 hours
  • 10% of procedures are completed in two days, 4-6 hours per day
  • Possible side effects:
    • Headaches, bone and muscle aches for several days before the donation
    • These are side effects of filgrastim, of the buildup of stem cells in your bloodstream, and will go away after your donation 

Bone Marrow Donation

  • A surgical procedure that takes place in a hospital operating room under general anesthesia
  • The hospitals we use are highly experienced in marrow donations
  • Doctors use needles to withdraw liquid marrow (where the body’s blood-forming cells are made) from both sides of the back of your pelvic bone
  • Usually the procedure is performed in the morning and the donor is discharged in the afternoon of the same day
  • Common side effects are:
    • Back or hip pain
    • Fatigue
    • Throat pain
    • Less common side effects are:
      • Muscle pain
      • Insomnia
      • Headache
      • Dizziness
      • Loss of appetite
      • Nausea 

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