To be considered a match, the donor and patient must have at least 8 out of 10 tissue (HLA) characteristics in common, but ideally should have 10. Patients with more diverse ethnic backgrounds (including African Americans, Latinos, and Asians) tend to have more diverse HLA types, making it even more difficult to find a match. Having more donors on the registry will enable more lives to be saved. This is why we need YOU to register as a potential bone marrow donor.
You can register in person, at a donor drive, or by ordering a do-it-yourself registration kit online or by phone. The registration process involves filling out a form and swabbing the inside of your cheeks to collect cells for tissue typing. To find a donor drive in your city, please visit our 2013 RYDE page.
To register as a bone marrow donor, you must be between 18-55 years old, in good general health, weigh at least 100 pounds, but not exceed a body mass index (BMI) of 40, and be willing to donate to any patient in need. If you meet these requirements you will be asked to complete a registration form and swab the inside of your cheeks to collect cells for tissue typing. We use high resolution typing to minimize search times for patients. Your tissue type will be listed anonymously on the national registry. You will be available as a donor for any patient until your 61st birthday.
If you match a patient, you will be asked to give a blood sample for further testing and you will have a thorough physical examination. If it is determined that you are a suitable donor, you will be asked to donate in one of two ways. The method used is determined by the patients's doctor. You must be willing to donate using either method.
BONE MARROW DONATION - 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. 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 completely regenerates within a few weeks.
PERIPHERAL BLOOD STEM CELL DONATION - 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 first day of donation. On the day of the donation 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. PBSC is a nonsurgical, outpatient procedure that takes about 4-8 hours on 1-2 consecutive days. While taking this medication, many donors experience flu-like symptoms such as headaches, bone and muscle achiness and fatigue. Most side effects should subside in 48 hours after donating.
*Source - DKMS deletebloodcancer.org