How is donation actually done? (NO DRILLING!)
The main method of donating is Peripheral Blood Stem Cell donation (PBSC). In the UK, this is done 90% of the time, and is safe and easy. With PBSC, you are actually giving stem cells, not bone marrow; and the donation process is very similar to giving blood.
- Step 1: You are given a small jab/injection of G-CSF for 4 days. This causes your body to temporarily produce extra stem cells.
- Step 2: On day 5, you go to a clinic where you are connected to a special machine. It draws blood out of one arm, filters and collects stem cells only, and returns the rest of your blood back into your other arm. This process is called aphaeresis and takes about 4 hours.
Like any procedure, there are possible side effects (fatigue, headaches, muscle/joint pain, etc), as well as some less common side effects (dizziness, chest pain, night sweats, etc).
Is donating bone marrow painful?
There is NO drilling and NO scraping the bone. The most pain the donor feels is a needle jab. Ally’s Dad went through the aphaeresis (PBSC) procedure once. He thought it was easy and straightforward. The hardest part was being bored whilst connected to the machine for 5 hours!
How do I get tested?
- Step 1: Register online
- Step 2: For most countries, a free screening kit will be sent to you.
- Step 3: Swab your cheek and send it back in. Bam! Done.
Watch Ally’s dad demonstrate how easy it is to register:
What are the chances you actually donate?
About 1 out of every 430 people screened go on to donate bone marrow. Even if you don’t help Ally, there is a good chance that you could help save another person’s life!
Does it cost me anything to donate?
No! The screening kits are free. The donation procedure in the hospital is free.