How do you get tested?
First, register online to be a donor. For most countries, after signing up online, you’ll be sent a free screening kit in the post.
So how does bone marrow donation actually work?
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.
- You are given a small jab/injection of granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) for 4 days. This causes your body to temporarily produce extra stem cells.
- On day 5, you go to a clinic where you are connected to a special machine. It draws blood out of one arm, which passes through the machine, and back into your other arm. This process is called aphaeresis.
- As the blood passes through the machine, stem cells are filtered and collected. The process takes about 4-5 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).
What are the chances you actually donate?
About 1 out of every 430 people screened go on to donate bone marrow to a patient in need. Even if you don’t help Ally, there is a good chance that you could help save another person’s life!
Do you know anyone who has done this or can talk about their experience?
Ally’s Dad went through the aphaeresis procedure once (he was almost a donor). He thought it was easy and straightforward. The hardest part was being bored whilst connected to the machine for 5hrs! He would be happy to answer any questions about his experience, just leave a comment or click on Contact Us!