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Join the National Marrow Donor Program Registry
The first step towards becoming a bone marrow donor is to register your intent to do so. The National Marrow Donor Program will accept donor volunteers who are between the ages of 18 and 60. Once you contact the National Marrow Donor Program you will receive a health questionnaire. You must complete the health questionnaire and an acknowledgment form. After you complete the health questionnaire and acknowledgement form, you will give a tissue sample. The tissue sample will be either through a mouth swab or a small blood sample.
Doctors Will Review Registry for Compatible Tissue Type
Once on the registry the you will be considered by various physicians who are looking for a certain tissue type. If your tissue type matches the patient’s tissue type and the doctor wishes to select them for possible donation, you will be contacted and have to undergo testing. Once the testing is performed and you are actively being considered, you will then need to attend a counseling session. The counseling session will be held with a donor center representative who will inform you of the procedure and determine if you wish to donate.
Chosen Donors Will Undergo Physical Examination
Once you are selected for a particular patient and have agreed to go through with the donation, you will need to take a physical exam. The doctors will examine you to determine whether or not a donation will cause harm to you or the patient.
Donation Procedure Is Performed
As soon as the physical exam has been completed and the you have been approved, the operation to withdraw the bone marrow will be scheduled. A few days before the surgery, doctors will ask you to donate blood. The blood you donate, will be for you to use if you need a blood transfusion after giving marrow.
During the surgery, you will be given anesthesia and have the liquid marrow taken out of the back of their pelvic bones. A blood transfusion is often required after the marrow is taken. If you need a blood transfusion, you will use your own blood that was taken prior to the surgery.
Recovery and Follow-Up
You will probably feel some pain or soreness in their lower back for a few days post-surgery. However, this should only be brief in duration and you will most likely be able to continue their normal daily activities about a week or so after the surgery. The marrow that was withdrawn from you will replace itself within four to six weeks. The donor center will provide follow-up visits with you to ensure that they have recovered from the donation surgery.
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