Donation Process

Two donation methods: PBSC and bone marrow

There are two methods of donation: peripheral blood stem cells (PBSC) and bone marrow. The patient’s doctor chooses the donation method that is best for the patient.

One of our “lifesavers” during his PBSC donation

PBSC donation is a nonsurgical procedure that takes place at a blood center or outpatient hospital unit. For 5 days leading up to donation, you will receive injections of a drug called filgrastim to increase the number of blood-forming cells in your bloodstream. On the day of your donation, your blood is removed through a needle in one arm and passed through a machine that separates out the blood-forming cells. The remaining blood is returned to you through the other arm. Your blood-forming cells are back to their normal levels within 4 to 6 weeks. To learn more, visit the national Be The Match website. Look for the video where Jeff, a donor, explains PBSC donation.

Marrow donation is a surgical outpatient procedure that takes place at a hospital. You will receive anesthesia and feel no pain during the donation. Doctors use a needle to withdraw liquid marrow from the back of your pelvic bone. The marrow replaces itself completely within 4 to 6 weeks. To learn more, watch Paul, a marrow donor, explain his experience with bone marrow donation.