You're a Potential Match!
When you registered as a bone marrow donor, you provided so many patients with hope. Now, you have the potential to provide one with a second chance at life. Less than 1% of registered donors get contacted as a possible match, so you are a member of a rare group.
What Does This Mean?
A doctor searching for donors to help their patient has identified you as a potential match based on your HLA type. Now they’d like to do further testing to confirm that you are a match and to see if you are able and eligible to donate.
Learning that you are a potential match may be exciting news for you. It also might make you a bit nervous. The team at DKMS is here to support you in every way as you consider the opportunity to donate. Our coordinators can answer any questions you have and can connect you with resources to help you gain a better understanding of what donating means.
Donating is a serious commitment. We encourage you to learn more about it and discuss your decision with the people closest to you. But we also ask that you make your decision to donate or withdraw in a timely manner. Delays in the donor search can be life-threatening to the patient.
Peripheral Blood Stem Cell (PBSC)
Peripheral Blood Stem Cell (PBSC) collection is a non-surgical, outpatient procedure that collects blood stem cells via the bloodstream in a process similar to donating plasma or platelets.
Bone Marrow Donation
This is a surgical procedure performed under anesthesia, so no pain is experienced during donation. Marrow cells are collected from the back of your pelvic bone using a syringe.
This is the donation method used in 75% of cases. PBSC donation is a non-surgical, outpatient procedure that collects blood stem cells via the bloodstream. During the procedure, your blood is drawn through one arm and passed through a machine that filters out the blood stem cells. The remaining blood is returned to you through your other arm. To increase your blood stem cells prior to donation, you will receive daily injections of a synthetic protein called filgrastim on the four days leading up to and on the morning of the procedure. The actual donation can take from 4-8 hours over the course of 1-2 days.
Possible Side Effects & Recovery of PBSC
While taking filgrastim, you may experience flu-like symptoms such as headaches, bone and muscle aches and fatigue. Most side effects should subside within 48 hours of donating. Your stem cells replenish within one week.
Donating was a family affair. My mother, step father and older brother all stopped by making sure I was comfortable.
—Mark, PBSC donor
This is the donation method used in about 25% of cases, generally when the patient is a child. It is a 1-2 hour surgical procedure performed under anesthesia, so no pain is experienced during the donation. Marrow cells are collected from the back of your pelvic bone using a syringe.
Possible Side Effects & Recovery of Bone Marrow Collection
You may experience some pain, bruising and stiffness for up to two weeks after donation. Within a week of donating, you should be able to return to work, school and many regular activities. Your marrow will completely replenish itself within 3-6 weeks. We check up with you regularly after donation to make sure you are recovering properly. If you are not, we will arrange any necessary follow-up care.
I went into the hospital in the morning, was put under anesthesia, and woke up an hour and 15 minutes later. When I woke up, I was more stiff than anything; like I slept in a really weird way. They asked how I felt. The pain was not bad. It was a dull, achy soreness. They made sure I was OK. I went home in the afternoon and rested for a couple of days. That was it.
—Christian, Bone Marrow Donor