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Registration and Donor Process

Registration (at a drive)

Donor Eligibility
Age: 18 to 60 years
Good general health
Individual need only register once

Factors to Consider
Those at-risk for HIV/Hepatitis - ineligible
Read information materials before registering
Make a moral commitment to the cause

Donor Consent Form
Demographic information
2 contact addresses of friends/relatives living in the U.S.
Brief health-history questionnaire

Blood Test
2-3 drops of blood collected by finger-prick method
Finger Prick & spots on filter paper

Blood Tests Following Registration

  • The registrant’s blood is typed for Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) and the results are entered into the National Marrow Donor Program Registry.
  • The registrant can potentially make a difference for the 3 thousand patients searching the Registry every day.
  • If the individual is a potential match, further confirmatory tests will be performed with new samples.

Marrow Donation Process (if selected as a “match”)
If all tests confirm that an individual is the best possible donor, an information session is scheduled to educate the potential donor on the two types of donation processes (described below). A complete health check is done to ensure there is no danger to either the recipient or the donor.

Marrow Donation
The marrow collection process usually does not require an overnight stay in the hospital. The procedure itself is painless, because it is performed under anesthesia. It should be noted that adverse reactions to anesthesia are the most significant risk of marrow donation. For an average of two weeks following the procedure, most donors experience sore hips and some must restrict their activities. Most donors report that donating marrow is a very positive experience, since they have been given the chance to save a life. Many marrow donors are willing to donate again in the future.

Peripheral Blood Stem Cell (PBSC)
A few days before the PBSC donation, the donor is given an injection of a medication (Filgrastim) to increase the number of stem cells released into the blood stream. After receiving the medication, peripheral blood stem cells are collected by apheresis: The donor's blood is removed through a sterile needle placed in a vein in one arm, and passed through an apheresis machine that separates out the stem cells; the remaining blood (minus the stem cells) is returned to the donor through a sterile needle in the other arm. Unlike marrow donation, PBSC donation does not require anesthesia, which is the most significant risk of marrow donation. PBSC donors experience symptoms such as bone pain and muscle pain prior to the collection while receiving Filgrastim.