The Seven Steps to Donating Bone Marrow

Yup, that's what your
bone marrow looks like!

At a donor center or a registration drive, you learn about what it means to be a marrow donor. You give 2-3 tablespoons of blood and consent to be listed in the main donor registry. (No marrow is actually given at the time of registration.)
Your tissue type is determined and entered onto the donor registry.
A lab analyzes your blood to determine its tissue type (which, by the way, is a different thing altogether than blood type). The results are added to the registry's main computer, which is searched regularly by my doctors and doctors of other patients who need a marrow transplant.
You are contacted if a preliminary match is found.
If the computerized registry shows that your tissue type is close to mine or any of the patients in need, your donor center contacts you and arranges additional testing.
A "perfect match" is identified.
To find out whether you are a "perfect match," additional tests are done. If you do match, you will be given counseling and a physical exam.
You decide whether to donate.
After being fully informed about what it means to donate bone marrow, you make the decision to donate.
A small amount of your marrow is collected.
You'll go to a hospital near you. A small amount of your marrow is collected from the back of your pelvic bone with a special needle and syringe. Anesthesia is used during this simple surgical procedure.
You recover quickly from the procedure.
Typically, the donor stays overnight in the hospital. Afterwards, you can resume normal activity, although you may feel some soreness in your hip for several days. Your marrow naturally replenishes itself within a few weeks.

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