Don’t believe the myths
Learn the truth about blood stem cell and marrow donation.
MYTH Donation is very painful.
Donation is less painful than you probably think.
Discomfort and side effects vary from person to person, but it’s nothing like what you see on TV. Some of the common side effects of PBSC donation are headaches, nausea and tiredness—from the daily filgrastim shots administered in the 5 days leading up to donation.
For a marrow donation, you experience no pain before or during the procedure, but you may feel sore or achy for a few days afterward.
MYTH Donation is expensive.
Donation is absolutely free to the donor. It costs nothing.
All of your medical and travel expenses are covered by Be The Match®. We can also help cover any lost wages due to donation.
MYTH Sharing personal information and DNA is risky.
We protect your privacy and confidentiality.
Sharing your personal information, DNA and blood stem cells is NOT risky because Be The Match has rules in place to protect your privacy. Your blood stem cells go directly to your patient. After you donate, a trained courier takes your blood stem cells to the patient’s hospital for transplant.
MYTH Donating takes a long time.
It doesn’t take long to save someone’s life.
Between the phone calls, appointments and the donation itself, expect to spend about 20-30 hours total over a period of 4-6 weeks completing all the steps necessary for donation.
MYTH Donating bone marrow involves opening up or removing bones.
Most blood stem cell donors give peripheral blood stem cells—a process similar to donating plasma.
Some think that the only way to donate blood stem cells is through a surgical procedure. The reality is about 90% of donations are peripheral blood stem cells, which involves no surgery at all!
MYTH Donating is dangerous.
There are few risks to donating.
It is a common misconception that donating blood stem cells is dangerous. The truth is that there are actually very few risks in donating blood stem cells!
MYTH Matching blood stem cells is the same as matching blood type.
The genetic typing used to match donors to patients is much more complex than matching blood type.
- A patient and donor do not need to have the same blood type.
- Matching is based on your human leukocyte antigen (HLA), proteins—or markers—found on most cells in your body.
- The patient’s blood type will change to the donor’s blood type after transplant.
MYTH Gay men cannot join the registry.
Members of the LGBTQIA+ community CAN join the registry and donate. You won’t be asked about your sexual orientation when registering because it doesn’t factor into choosing the best possible match for a patient.
MYTH Asking about a donor’s ethnic background is racist.
Ethnic background is an important factor for matching donors and patients.
- Patients are most likely to match someone of the same ethnic background. That’s because genetic type is inherited.
- Adding more registry members who increase the ethnic diversity of the registry increases the variety of tissue types available, helping more patients find the match they need.
MYTH Be The Match discriminates against people older than 40.
Age guidelines protect the safety of the donor and provide the best possible outcome for the patient. They are not meant to discriminate.
Some believe that the age guidelines we have in place are to discriminate against those 41 and older. However, these guidelines are meant to protect the safety of the patient AND the donor.
- Donors between the ages of 18-35 provide the greatest chance for transplant success.
- Doctors request donors in the 18-35 age group 75% of the time.
- Learn more about why a donor’s age matters.
MYTH Only males can donate bone marrow or blood stem cells.
Anyone between the ages of 18-40 who meets the medical guidelines can donate.
- Medical guidelines are in place to protect the health of donors and patients.
- Certain guidelines, like pregnancy, wouldn’t prevent someone from joining the registry. However, while pregnant or attempting to become pregnant, you must be temporarily deferred from donating until fully recovered from the delivery. Marrow or blood-forming cells cannot be collected at any time during pregnancy.
Ready to join the donor registry?
Order your free swab kit today! Join the Be The Match Registry®. You could save a life.