The collection of haematopoietic progenitor cells via a bone marrow aspiration is a painless procedure because it is performed under anaesthetic, either general anaesthesia or an epidural. After the haematologist has collected the bone marrow cells using punctures at the back of the hip, the donor will stay in the hospital for 1 day and may require a blood transfusion. In most cases doctors prefer to carry out an autotransfusion of the donor’s own blood to avoid the need to administer someone else’s blood. The donor may notice some pain in the puncture area in the 24–48 hours following the procedure, which is generally relieved upon taking oral analgesics.
Both the administration of this type of medicinal product and the aphaeresis procedure may involve some risk, but the incidence is very low. The most common side effects are tingling and/or bone pain in the limbs.
Anyone aged between 18 and 55 years who is in good overall health can be a donor. In the case of the study and analysis of a related donor, the patient’s haematologist will initiate the process of identifying candidates among siblings. If you are not compatible with any of your relatives, you could also help by becoming a donor on the national registry.