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Bone marrow donation is one of two methods of collecting blood forming cells for bone marrow transplants. Bone marrow donation is a surgical procedure that takes place in a hospital operating room. Doctors use needles to withdraw liquid marrow (where the body’s blood-forming cells are made) from both sides of the back of your pelvic bone. You will be given anesthesia and feel no pain during the donation. After donation, your liquid marrow is transported to the patient’s location for transplant.

Paul, bone marrow donor, explain his experience with bone marrow donation.

Typically, the hospital stay for marrow donation is from early morning to late afternoon, or occasionally overnight for observation. The donation will take place in a hospital that is experienced and participates in marrow collections for NMDP.

Possible side effects and recovery with marrow donation

Common side effects of marrow donation reported 2 days after donation: Back or hip pain 84%, Fatigue 61%, Throat pain 32%, Muscle pain 24%, Insomnia 15%, Headache 14%, Dizziness 10%, Loss of appetite 10%, Nausea 9%.

The median time to full recovery for a marrow donation is 20 days. Recovery after marrow donation: 5% - 2 days, 18%-7 days, 71%-30 days, 97%-180 days, 99%-1 year

Learn more about what happens after you donate.