GET ON THE LIST
Getting registered to become a donor is fast, easy and pain free. You can choose to do so online or at one of our upcoming GET ON THE LIST drives at a concert near you. Thanks to our partners, Delete Blood Cancer , the normal registration fee of $65 is waived (although every donation helps). More detailed information on how it works and donor eligibility is below.
HOW DO I BECOME A MARROW OR BLOOD STEM CELL DONOR?
- It is a painless and simple procedure to get ON THE LIST.
- You complete a registration form and sign a donor consent form.
- You have your cheek swabbed with a cotton-tipped swab. The cells are taken and sent to a lab to be tested to determine your tissue type.
- Your data is then entered into the National Marrow Donor Program registry in anonymous form, so doctors can search for a donor for their patients.
BASIC ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS:
- Between ages 18 & 55
- Be in good health
- Weigh more than 110 lbs.
- Not be HIV positive or at risk for AIDS
- Not have severe heart disease
- Not have a history of cancer*
- Not have severe asthma (daily inhalers are acceptable)
- Not have diabetes requiring insulin
- Not have hepatitis
- Not have epilepsy
- Not have chronic or severe back problems
- Not have autoimmune disorders (such as lupus, rheumatiod arthritis or multiple sclerosis)
- *Cervical, breast and bladder cancer (stage o) and cured skin cancer acceptable
HOW IS MY MARROW OR STEM CELLS COLLECTED?
There are two ways to donate bone marrow. The method used for donation depends upon the patient’s needs and is determined by the patient’s doctor.
A. Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Donation (PBSC): 85% of the time
In this method, cells are collected via the bloodstream. To increase the number of stem cells in the bloodstream, donors receive daily injections of a synthetic protein called filgrastim for 4 days before and on the day of the collection.
On the day of collection the donor’s blood is removed with a sterile needle from one arm and passed through a machine that separates out the blood stem cells. The remaining blood is returned to the donor through the other arm. The cell collection is an outpatient procedure that takes about 4-6 hours on 1-2 consecutive days.
Possible side effects and recovery: While taking the medication, many donors experience flu-like symptoms such as headaches, bone and muscle achiness and fatigue. Most side effects should subside within 48 hours of donating.
B. Bone Marrow Donation: 15% of the time.
Marrow cells are collected from the backside of the pelvic bone (not the spine) using a special syringe. Donors receive general anesthesia so no pain is experienced during the marrow extraction. This is a 1-2 hour, outpatient, surgical procedure.
Possible side effects and recovery: Many donors experience some pain, bruising and stiffness for up to two weeks after their donation. Within a week of donating, most donors are able to return to work, school and many regular activities. The donor’s marrow is completely replenished within a few weeks.