Debunking the myths about donating bone marrow

The National Marrow Donor Program has published information on the website to dispel the misinformation concerning marrow donation. The following information are excerpts from their site to correct the myths that may be holding back potential donors from registering.

Chance Cunningham, a young boy from the town of China,  who was recently the recipient of a bone marrow transplant.

Myth #1: Bone Marrow Donation Requires Surgery.

Three out of four donations are made through a nonsurgical technique called PBSC, peripheral blood stem cell donation. This technique removes the blood-forming cells from the donor’s blood through a needle in the donor’s arm much like a regular blood donation procedure.

Myth #2: Pieces of Bone are Removed.

This is never the case. Donors only provide the liquid marrow which is taken from the pelvic bone.

Myth #3: Donating Bone Marrow is Painful.

In the 25 percent of cases for which surgery is required, the donor is put under general anesthesia and feels no pain. Donors generally return home the same day and go back to their usual routine within a week.

Myth #4: Donating Bone Marrow is Bad for the Donor’s Heath.

Less than five percent of the donor’s marrow is removed, which is not enough to cause any health problems. These cells replace themselves in four to six weeks.

Myth #5: Donating is Costly to the Donor.

Bone Marrow donors do not pay to donate. The National Marrow Donor Program pays for the donor’s travel cost.

Myth #6: The Need for Bone Marrow Donors is Declining

Annually, more than 10,000 Americans are diagnosed with life-threatening diseases, such as leukemia or lymphoma, for which the only cure is a bone marrow transplant. Their lives literally depend on finding suitable donor matches before it is too late.


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