About Marrow and Stem Cell Donation
It is indeed a tragedy that so many patients who could benefit from this life-saving procedure cannot be treated. In order to have a transplant, there must be a donor: a volunteer who shares a tissue type similar to the patient’s. For many, finding a match is no easy task.
It may take only a few months or up to five—even ten—years after being tested before you receive that special call to help save a life. In fact, you may never be called as a suitably matched donor for a patient! The only way you will ever know if you can help save a life is by taking the first step to be tested. Perhaps one day you might be given the opportunity to participate in a true miracle. What greater gift can one human being give to another than the Gift of Life?
Gift of Life's donor file is searched by transplant centers and registries worldwide. This is performed on behalf of patients in need of suitably matched stem cell donors. If your tissue type matches that of a patient, a Gift of Life donor services coordinator will contact you and ask if you are willing to proceed with additional tests. If you are indeed a match, you will be counseled on the process involved in donating bone marrow or blood stem cells by a Gift of Life workup coordinator. From there, you’ll consult with a physician at the collection center and receive a complete health history, physical exam, and laboratory tests to determine if you are eligible.
Sources of Blood Progenitor Cells
- Bone Marrow
- Blood Stem Cells
Marrow versus Blood Stem Cells
Stem cell donation is a voluntary process. Prospective donors are never under pressure to register. In fact, we ask that you take some time to consider your commitment in order to avoid giving false hope to patients in need. For the patient, there is no turning back once the pre-transplant treatment begins. Without the donor's healthy stem cells, the patient would die. Thus, it is crucial that the donor be committed to participate once the intent to donate is given.
The recuperation process is lengthy, but the patient has been given a second chance at a full life thanks to the kindness of a stranger. And that someone may be you.
The Next Step
Gift of Life considers donor education a high priority. Many donors agree to be tested without considering their commitment carefully. In order to avoid giving false hope to a patient needing a stem cell transplant, we ask that you give this decision your complete attention. Then, if you wish to join Gift of Life, you can register online or attend a community recruitment drive.