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You got the call … now what?

You’ve been chosen as the best possible match for a patient. It’s time to save a life!

You're a match!

Emily got the call she was matched with a patient. Watch her blood stem cell donation journey and learn why she wanted to make a difference by helping save a life.

Two ways to save a life

When it’s time to donate, you’ll donate blood stem cells either through a peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) or marrow donation depending on the needs and best course of action for the patient. Don’t worry, it’s nothing like what you see on TV!

PBSC donation

About 90% of donations are PBSC, which is like donating plasma. In the days leading up to your PBSC donation, you’ll be given injections of filgrastim, a medication that increases the number of blood-forming cells in your bloodstream.

During donation, your blood goes through a needle on one arm and is passed through a machine that separates out the blood-forming cells. The remaining blood is returned to you through the other arm. Sit back and relax—you’re our guest of honor. Many donors play games or binge their favorite TV show to pass the time.

Marrow donation

Marrow donations make up about 10% of total donations. Marrow donation is a surgical procedure where doctors use needles to withdraw liquid marrow (where the body’s blood-forming cells are made) from the back of your pelvic bone. You’ll be given anesthesia and won’t feel any pain while donating.

Join the donor registry

I donated … what’s next?

Donation recovery

Donors can usually go back to work, school and most other activities within 1-7 days. Your blood stem cells return to normal levels within a few weeks. It’s important to note recovery times vary depending on the individual and the type of donation.

The median time to full recovery:

  • 7 days for PBSC donation
  • 20 days for marrow donation

Meeting of a lifetime

After you donate, you’ll forever share a bond with your recipient. You may even decide you want to meet each other. In many cases, you can meet after a waiting period of at least 1 year. But each case is unique and rules vary by country. Confidentiality policies are in place to protect the privacy of both you and your recipient.

Direct contact between donors and recipients is a choice, not an obligation. For many reasons, you or your recipient may choose to not have any contact with each other. Transplant and donation are very personal emotional experiences, which people deal with in different ways.

A donor’s impact

Amya's life was saved thanks to her incredible donor, Eboni.

Ready to join the donor registry?

Order your free swab kit today! Join the NMDP Registry. You could save a life.

Join the donor registry