There is an increasing need for bone marrow donors today. Whether you have a particular person you want to help or you just want to register as a donor for anybody who might be a good match, there guidelines and qualifications you need to meet. Here are some of the things you need to know when donating bone marrow.
Register. To become a donor, you have to join the registry of bone marrow donors in your area or contact the National Bone Marrow Donor Program.
Be informed. It’s very important that you know all the necessary details before undergoing any procedure. If you don’t have any recipients yet, try to attend seminars about bone marrow transplants and donations. If you’re already donating for somebody, doctors and other health care professionals will inform you and guide you through the steps of donating bone marrow.
Physical examination. You’ll be asked to undergo a physical exam to determine if you’re healthy enough for the procedure.
Medical conditions and guidelines. There are certain conditions that may disqualify you from being a donor. Before you get accepted as a donor, you’ll be asked for your medical history. Answer the questions honestly. You may not be allowed to donate bone marrow if the procedure might bring negative effects on your health. This will also safeguard the patient, as you might have transmittable diseases that he may acquire.
Finding a match. Once you’re already a registered donor or have been accepted as a donor for a friend or family member, the doctor needs to determine if you’re a good match for the patient. This is done through human leukocyte antigen typing (HLA). This protein is inherited from our parents, so brothers and sisters are almost always good matches for each other.
The procedure. You will be given an anesthesia prior the procedure. The doctor will use a special kind of needle to aspirate liquid marrow from you. Expect to experience some side effects a few hours to a few days after the procedure. Some side effects are soreness on the injection site, muscle aches and headaches.
Age. A qualified donor must be between 18 – 60 years. Bone marrow donation requires the use of anethesia. An older donor may experience an increase side effect from anesthesia than a younger donor.
Weight. Your Body Mass Index is evaluated. This is a tool that measures your body fat content based on your height and weight. A normal BMI should be within the range of 18.5 and 24.9. Underweight and overweight individuals are not advised to donate bone marrow for safety reasons. (Learn how to calculate your BMI)
Certain health conditions may disqualify you as a potential donor. Listed below are some of the conditions that may not allow you to donate bone marrow. In some cases, you need to undergo further evaluations and assessments before being accepted as a donor.
Autoimmune disorders, like multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus and fibromyalgia will disqualify you as a potential donor. You may be allowed to donate bone marrow if you have Grave’s disease that has been successfully managed.
Infectious diseases. You won’t be allowed to become a donor if you’ve been diagnosed with Hepatitis B or C. Having an active tuberculosis or a positive mantoux test result will also stop you from donating bone marrow. HIV or AIDS patients are not allowed to donate bone marrow for a certain period of time. Contact your local donor center for more information.
Bleeding disorders. Persons with hemophilia, aplastic anemia and Factor v disorders are not allowed to become donors. A history of more than 1 deep vein thrombosis will also stop you from donating bone marrow.
Respiratory Disorders like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema and cystic fibrosis will disqualify you from being a potential donor.
These are only some of the things you need to know when planning on donating bone marrow. For complete information about the procedure and health qualifications, it’s wise to consult your doctor or contact your local donor center.