Marrow Donation Videos.
Ok so you’ve
given your saliva sample to be tissue typed. What happens if you are found to be
a suitable match for one of the thousands awaiting a transplant?
There are two methods of bone marrow donation.
1 Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Collection (PBSC)
About 80% of donors donate via this method.
Prior to stem cell collection donors are given injections to increase the number
of stem cells in the blood. More than 10,000 unrelated donors have been given
these injections worldwide to date with no long term side effects reported.
The collection itself involves the donor lying on a hospital type bed in the out
patients clinic. Blood is drawn out of one arm and fed into the cell separator (apheresis)
machine. The machine centrifuges the blood, separating the blood stem cells from
the other blood components and the stem cells are collected in a blood bag along
with some plasma. The blood re-enters the donor’s blood stream via the other
This process is an outpatient procedure known as apheresis and no general
anaesthesia is required.
Hotel accommodation will be arranged for the donor if they live far from the
The following video clip shows this straightforward process. Just click on the
Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Collection
Method 2 Bone Marrow Harvest.
The remaining 20% donate via this method.
Bone marrow is extracted from the pelvic bones or sternum under general
anaesthetic by sterile disposable needle and syringe in an operating theatre in
a process known as a ‘bone marrow harvest’.
The donor is admitted to hospital for 2 nights, one before and one after the
harvest, and three days. Usually the donor is able to return home from hospital
24 hours after donating.
The vast majority of donors decide to undergo a general anaesthetic, but there
may be valid reasons why a spinal or epidural anaesthetic may be preferred.
No surgical incisions or stitches are made but several puncture marks will be
made in the bone and therefore the skin.
All donors will be seen by a doctor before discharge and are required to visit
their GP a month post donation for a full blood test.
The bone marrow removed in the harvest is regenerated in the normal manner
within a few weeks and as far as is known there are no harmful effects in this
The experience of previous donors indicates that it is not an unduly painful
Click on the link below to see, and hear about, a bone marrow harvest.
Bone Marrow Harvest Video.