Bone marrow is a soft, spongy material found in your large bones. It makes more than 200 billion new blood cells every day, including red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. But for people with bone marrow disease, including several types of cancer, the process doesn’t work properly.

Often, a bone marrow transplant is a person’s best chance of survival and a possible cure. The good news is that donating bone marrow can be as easy and painless as giving blood. You can also look for bone marrow via https://www.geneticistinc.com/.

The bone marrow donation process:

If you agree to donate bone marrow, you’ll likely do what’s called a peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) collection. Here’s how it works:

  • For 5 days leading up to the donation, you’ll get a daily 5-minute injection of granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF), a white blood cell growth hormone.
  • On day 5, a trained health care provider will place a needle in each of your arms. One needle will remove blood, and a machine circulates the blood and collects the stem cells. Your blood then is returned to your body through the second needle. The process takes about 3 hours and maybe repeated on a second donation day. Side effects include headaches, bone soreness, and discomfort from the needles during the process.

Although less common, some donors may be asked to undergo a bone marrow harvest, during which doctors take bone marrow from the back of a donor’s hip bone during surgery. Donors usually go home the same day of the surgery and can return to normal activity within 1 week. Common side effects include nausea, headache, and fatigue, most often related to the anesthesia. Bruising or discomfort in the lower back is also common.