The day you receive your new cells is often called 'Day Zero'. It usually comes 1 or 2 days after you complete the preparative regimen.
Patients can have mixed feelings about transplant day. Some may be nervous. For others, it is a time of celebration. You may want to ask your transplant center about ways to honor this milestone with a small gathering, guided imagery, music or prayer.
You are not alone. Your health care team will be with you to answer any questions or concerns you may have and to help keep you comfortable.
Receiving your new cells:
- The transplant isn't surgery but instead, your new healthy donated cells are given to you through your central line.
- The donated cells arrive in blood bags, similar to the ones used for blood transfusion.
- The color and amount of fluid depend on whether the cells were collected from marrow, peripheral blood or an umbilical cord and whether the red blood cells were filtered out.
- You will be in your hospital room and awake during the transplant process. The cells are infused (put into your body) through an intravenous (IV) line, most often through your central line. The procedure is like a blood transfusion.
- Your transplant team will watch you closely while you are getting your new cells. They will also explain what to expect, how long the infusion might take and how you might feel.
- The donated cells 'know' where they belong in the body. They move through your bloodstream to settle in your bone marrow. This is where the cells will begin to grow and produce new red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. When this happens, this is called engraftment.
The safety of patients and donors is a top priority for us. To learn more about the ways we work to protect transplant patients, see Safety of donated marrow or cord blood.