Bone marrow donation may not classify as organ donation, but it does classify as a type of donation that can end up saving someone’s life, just like the other types of donations we have previously covered.
Bone marrow is used in the treatment of lymphoma, leukemia, as well as other forms of blood cancer. 70% of the patients that require bone marrow transplant do not have a matching donor in their family, which is why registering as a bone marrow donor is so important, especially since leukemia is killing more and more children each year.
Registering as a bone marrow donor does not require a lot of work, and can even be done from the comfort of your home. Simply go online to Be The Match to register. From there they will send you a swab with which you will collect a sample from your cheek. You then send in the swab and are added to a database of donors. The chance of someone getting called ion to donate is about 1 in 430, it all depends on the unique tissues that a donor possesses when determining their chances of being called upon.
The process of donating bone marrow could go two different ways. The first possibility is when blood is taken from a donor’s arm, and is then put into a machine that separates the stem cells from the other blood, then put back into the patient through the other arm. The other method is when the marrow is extracted from the donor’s hip bones. Unlike other organs, when someone decides to donate bone marrow, it is not a part of you that is permanently lost. Bone marrow replaces itself in the span of four to six weeks.
After being placed into the registry, someone could get called months later, but also has the possibility of being called years later, or even not at all.
-Bri Loughridge, Alexander’s Hope Intern