Bone marrow donation can be a life-saving procedure for those diagnosed with blood cancer or blood disorders. Bone marrow, i.e. the blood-forming cells or stem cells are harvested to conduct a bone marrow transplant. The procedure doesn’t hurt someone donating the bone marrow. If anything, it can save the life of a blood cancer patient.

Bone Marrow Donation Explained

A bone marrow transplant may sound like a complicated and long procedure that would involve a slow recovery. Contrary to popular belief, it’s a simple procedure. You will be given anesthesia to ensure you don’t feel any discomfort. The doctor will then insert a thin needle into the side of your pelvic bones to extract bone marrow liquid. 

They may need to repeat it to obtain enough bone marrow for transplant. About 10% of your bone marrow—1-2 pints—is needed for the surgery. They might also extract red blood cells as part of the procedure. Fortunately, your red blood cells will be restored soon. Overall, the procedure takes no longer than an hour.

The procedure does involve a few risks, like a reaction to anesthesia, nerve damage, or an injury. But it doesn’t carry a significant risk if you see an experienced healthcare provider. The best part about the donation is that you can save someone’s life. It can be your family member, a friend, or a stranger who you might never see again.

How Can It Help a Leukemia Patient?

Do you know leukemia kills more children than other diseases in America? One person dies every 9 minutes from blood cancer. Many of these lives can be saved by bone marrow transplants. Sadly, a family member doesn’t necessarily qualify for the procedure. It’s either because they are not a good match or their health condition doesn’t qualify them for a bone marrow transplant. Anyone can donate bone marrow to any kid or adult. Here’s how it can save someone’s life.

Bone marrow contains blood stem cells that differentiate into several types of blood cells. If chemotherapy and radiation kill off the patient’s stem cells, a bone marrow transplant may be necessary. These patients need healthy red blood cell-producing bone marrow. In some cases, the patient’s bone marrow produces blood cells, but these aren’t healthy enough to identify cancerous cells and kill them; they also need bone marrow replacement.

Years ago, the donor had to be a perfect match with the recipient to ensure a successful bone marrow transplant. Otherwise, the recipient’s body would attack the donor’s stem cells, identifying them as a foreign object. Researchers now use new methods to perform bone marrow transplants regardless of compatibility. Technological advances allow bone marrow extraction from blood and umbilical cord.

If you want to become a hero in somebody’s life, consider joining a registry today. Learn more about how the whole process works and give somebody the help they need today. 

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