How Donation Works
Bone Marrow Stem Cells Donation
If a donor makes a bone marrow donation, he or she is given either a general or regional anesthetic. A special needle is inserted into the iliac crest (hip bone) and the marrow is extracted (the amount of marrow taken ranges from 500 to 1500 millilitres). The marrow will then replenish itself within approximately three weeks.
Peripheral Blood Stem Cells Donation
For a peripheral blood stem cell donation, a donor receives injections of a granulocyte colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) for a minimum of four days. These injections increase the number of stem cells found in the blood. To collect these cells, the donor is connected to an apheresis machine with a needle. Blood is drawn through a tube into a centrifuge and there the stem cells are collected and the remaining blood components are returned to the donor through another needle.
What Happens After Donation
Once the donation is complete, a medical courier will be on hand to transport the stem cells from the collection centre back to the transplant centre.
Each method of stem collection has side effects and risks, which are explained to the donor before he or she makes the decision to donate. After the donation is made, a Canadian Blood Services nurse will continue to monitor the donor's health to ensure the donor completely recovers.