Donor Facts/Myths

MYTH: All bone marrow donations involve surgery.
FACT: The majority of donations do not involve surgery. Today, the patient’s doctor most often requests a peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) donation, which is non-surgical. The second way of donating is marrow donation, which is a surgical procedure.  In each case, donors typically go home the same day they donate.

MYTH: Donating is painful and involves a long recovery.
FACT: There can be uncomfortable but short-lived side effects of donating PBSC. Due to taking a drug called filgrastim for five days leading up to donation, PBSC donors may have headaches, joint or muscle aches, or fatigue. PBSC donors are typically back to their normal routine in one to two days.

Those donating marrow receive general or regional anesthesia, so they feel no pain during donation. Marrow donors can expect to feel some soreness in their lower back for one to two weeks afterward. Most marrow donors are back to their normal activities in two to seven days.

MYTH: Donating is dangerous and weakens the donor.
FACT: Though no medical procedure is without risk, there are rarely any long-term side effects. Be The Match® carefully prescreens all donors to ensure they are healthy and the procedure is safe for them. We also provide support and information every step of the way.

Because only five percent or less of a donor’s marrow is needed to save the patient’s life, the donor’s immune system stays strong and the cells replace themselves within four to six weeks.

MYTH: In bone marrow donation, pieces of bone are removed from the donor.
FACT: No pieces of bone are taken during marrow donation. Only the liquid marrow found inside the pelvic bone is needed to save the patient’s life.

MYTH: Donors have to pay to donate.
FACT: Donors never pay to donate. We reimburse travel costs and may reimburse other costs on a case-by-case basis.

-per Be The Match.  For more details go to: