A bone marrow transplant can save a leukemia or blood disease patient. Stem cells from the donor’s bone marrow replace damaged stem cells in the recipient and ensure blood cell formation.
It’s usually needed when the cancer patient’s bone marrow has been damaged by chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Bone marrow transplant is also needed in cases where the patient’s bone marrow doesn’t produce sufficient blood cells. The questions are how is bone marrow donated and who can donate it?
Bone Marrow Transplant
In a bone marrow transplant, the stem cells from the donor’s bone marrow are extracted through a needle. The procedure doesn’t cause any harm to the donor. Any eligible person can register for bone marrow donation.
Bone marrow, circulation, and umbilical cord provide stem cells. New mothers can donate umbilical cords to obtain stem cells. However, the method is least effective, as the umbilical cord doesn’t carry the required amount of stem cells to produce enough blood cells. A patient can receive bone marrow from their family members or strangers, depending on their match.
How to Register Yourself for Bone Marrow Transplant
You can register at the National Marrow Donor Program in the United States as well as through other registries. It keeps the list of all donors with their HLA markers. You can reach out to the donor center or contact them online. The procedure is simple. You are required to use the cotton swab to collect tissue from the inside of your cheek and send the sample.
The donor center will check your HLA marker and record that information in the registry. If your HLA market matches a patient, the team will get in touch with you. They will also collect and send your blood sample to the bone marrow transplant center. They will further identify your HLA type to confirm that you are a close match. After confirmation, they will determine whether to remove stem cells from the circulation or bone marrow.
If you qualify for the transplant, a counselor will discuss the dangers and procedure. Signing the consent form means you acknowledge all risks and want to donate bone marrow.
Who Can’t Be a Bone Marrow Donor?
Medical issues may preclude you from being a healthy bone marrow donor over 60. People with cancer, persistent hip pain, brain injury, hepatitis B or C, autoimmune disease, kidney disease, diabetes, or arthritis cannot donate bone marrow. If you’re a good match, the doctor may order blood tests to rule out infections or other diseases that could compromise surgery. Sadly, those with health conditions aren’t able to donate because this can cause problems for both parties. On the one hand, the donor can experience further problems by putting their bodies under stress. On the other hand, the recipient can experience problems by taking a donation from somebody with a health condition. If the donor is healthy, the risk of complications is much smaller.