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The Donation Process

The Donation Process

Why Donate?

Marrow transplants are used to treat 70+ diseases, including blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma, as well as sickle cell disease.

> 70% of patients do not have a matching donor in their family. They rely on an unrelated donor, someone like you, for their life-saving transplant. This is why we ask you to join the national registry.


1. Blood Stem Cell Donation/PBSC

The vast majority of transplants (80%) do not involve surgery at all. The transplant uses a method called PBSC (peripheral blood stem cell) donation. It is a non-surgical procedure that is very similar to donating plasma.

For 5 days leading up to the donation, you will receive an injection of filgrastim. This increases the number of blood-forming cells in your bloodstream (blood stem cells). Depending on where you live, you will visit a blood center, an outpatient hospital, or a visiting nurse will come to your home so that you can receive daily injections.

On the day of your PBSC donation, blood is removed through a needle in one arm and passed through a machine that will collect the blood-forming cells. The remaining blood is returned to you through a needle in the other arm. The process typically lasts 4-6 hours.

After the donation has completed, your stem cells are transported to the patient for transplant.

Are There Any Side Effects?  Some donors report muscle aches for a few days.

2. Bone Marrow Donation

The remaining 20% of donations are bone marrow donations. This is an outpatient surgical procedure using anesthesia. You feel no pain during the procedure and you go home the next day.  Doctors use a needle to withdraw liquid marrow (where the body’s blood-forming cells are made) from both sides of the back of your pelvic bone.

After donation, your stem cells are transported to the patient for transplant.

Are There Any Side Effects?  Some donors report back or hip pain and fatigue for a few days after the procedure. Be the Match checks up on you until you report a full recovery.

Not Everyone is a Match

Not everyone on the Be The Match Registry® will match and be asked to donate to a patient. In fact, the chances of donating are 1 in 430. If you are asked to donate, the patient’s doctor has chosen you as the best donor.

If you are identified as a potential match for a patient, Be The Match representatives will work with you every step of the way. They will answer all of your questions and ensure your safety and privacy. They even cover expenses associated with the transplant like travel and childcare. Your comfort, health, and safety are their priority.

To include yourself as a potential donor, please click below – you may save a life:

 Join the Registry!

Olivia Meets Her Donor

Olivia had sickle cell disease. Her life was saved through the selfless act of a man named Sidnei who registered and donated his bone marrow.

Lauren Donates PBSC

Lauren registered and donated her blood stem cells to save a life. You can too.

Please include yourself as a member of the registry  – you may save someone’s life!