Facts About Blood and Bone Marrow Stem Cell Donation
Now, donors are encouraged to donate so that the bone marrow registry will have enough reserves to help the people who are in need. If you have a good heart and you’re thinking about donating your own bone marrow, then read on to find out some facts about blood and bone marrow donation.
What Are the Possible Risks Involved?
There are actually some risks involved when you’re going to donate your blood or bone marrow stem cells.
For bone marrow donations, one of the most common side effects would be if you’re sensitive to the anesthesia that is going to be used in the extraction procedure.
Another thing that you need to take note of is that since a needle will be inserted in your pelvic bone, the site where the needle will be inserted might feel sore or painful a few days after the stem cell harvest. However, the pain might not last for a very long time, but the soreness might persist for a maximum of 2 weeks.
For Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Donation, it is non-invasive, meaning, there no surgical procedures that are going to be done to you.
However, you will need to take a medicine that will increase the stem cell count in your bloodstream. The medicine is known to have side effects such as a headache, nausea, fatigue, muscle aches, just to name a few.
It is important to note that the side-effects might not affect all individuals. And, if it does affect you, you will not feel all of them.
What Happens Before the Extraction?
Days prior to the donation date, you will be asked to give your blood sample. This sample will be tested for proteins known as the HLA or Human Leukocyte Antigen. These proteins will tell the registry if you have a particular match on their database.
In the event that you are matched with someone, you will be given some additional tests to see if you have a pre-existing medical condition or if you’re truly fit to donate.
What to Expect During Donation?
For Bone Marrow Extraction, you will be put inside the operating room. You will be given a dose of general anesthesia and after a few minutes, the doctor will then insert needles into your pelvic bone to begin extraction.
The procedure may last up to 2 hours depending on the number of stem cells that are needed. Once the extraction is done, you will then be placed in a recovery room where a medical team will monitor you, especially after the anesthesia wears off.
For Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Extraction, a few days before the procedure, you will be given a drug known as Filgrastim which will increase the number of stem cells in your bloodstream. After which, a small thin tube will be inserted in both of your arms (the tube is known as the Intravenous Catheter) and those tubes are connected to a machine that will sift and remove the stem cells from the blood that is collected.
In one arm, the blood will be extracted and it will run through the machine. After the stem cells are extracted, the blood will then flow to the other arm and the procedure can last anywhere between 2-6 hours. Do note that you may have to do this procedure a couple more times depending on the need of the patient.
The time of recovery depends on the type of donation. For bone marrow donations, you will experience soreness and pain near or in the area where the needle was inserted. For peripheral blood stem cell donation, you might experience some side effects from time to time.
Generally, you can do normal things again in just after 2 days from the extraction date, though complete recovery may take up to 2-3 weeks depending on how fast you heal.