Peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) donation
In a PBSC donation, your blood is drawn through a needle in a non-surgical procedure done at the hospital. After the stem cells are separated from the blood, the remaining blood components are returned to your body through another needle. To prepare you for your donation, you will receive daily under-the-skin injections of granulocyte colony stimulated factor (G-CSF) for five days before the donation to increase the number of blood stem cells in your bloodstream.
Risks: Bone and muscle pain are the most common side effects of G-CSF. These are relieved with over-the-counter medication. Some donors may experience nausea, a tingling feeling or chills during the collection procedure as well as fatigue, headaches, low-grade fever or discomfort at the injection site. Side effects are short-term and usually mild to moderate.
Since the collection of stem cells using this method is relatively new, it is unknown what the long-term side effects (more than ten years) of the drug used to stimulate the production of stem cells are.
Bone marrow stem cell donation
A bone marrow stem cell donation is a surgical procedure performed under anesthesia. Hollow needles withdraw stem cells from your bone marrow from the back of your pelvic bones. The amount of bone marrow collected ranges from 500 to 1,500 millilitres, depending on requirements of the transplant. This procedure lasts 45 to 90 minutes. Your marrow will replenish itself within four to six weeks.
Risks: There are some risks associated with anesthesia similar to other surgical procedures. Serious side effects from anesthesia are rare: common ones include sore throat, mild nausea and vomiting.
Risks associated with bone marrow donation include infection, pain or numbness in a leg, bleeding at the donation site, bruising and lower back discomfort. Most donors recover well and are back to their normal routine within several days.
However you donate, your case manager will be in frequent contact with you until you are completely recovered.