Common Myths About Bone Marrow Donation Debunked
There are a lot of bone marrow transplants that have already been done which just means that there are plenty of donors who have successfully given some of their bone marrow cells to people who are in need of.
Despite this, people still believe some common myths about bone marrow donations. So today, I am going to debunk these myths once and for all.
1. Donating Your Bone Marrow Stem Cells is a Very Painful Process
This is not entirely true. Although there is a general level of discomfort that is experienced during the donation procedure on the extraction of stem cell, the level of pain is blown out of proportion.
There are actually two ways a person can donate their bone marrow stem cells. The first procedure is known as Apheresis and this is to acquire the stem cells through the blood of the donor.
Five days before the procedure, the donor is given a drug called Filgrastim that will increase the stem cell count in their bodies. After 5 days, the donor will have two needles inserted in their arms- one to extract their blood and the other is the pathway for their blood to return. In between the needles is a machine that will extract the PBSC from the donor’s body.
The entire procedure will last only a few hours and the patient is then free to leave after it is done.
The second procedure requires some surgery, albeit still not that scarily painful. The process involves the use of general anesthesia as the doctor would have to insert a syringe in the donor’s pelvic bone. The syringe will then extract the bone marrow cells and it typically lasts for a few hours as well.
Although there is a possibility that the donor might experience pain or discomfort, it is bearable and can last only for a few weeks max.
2. Donating Your Bone Marrow Might Have Long-term Ramifications
Whenever something is done to your body, especially in terms of extraction, there will always be some side effects.
For PBSC extraction, the donor might experience nausea, headaches, and vomiting. For Bone marrow donations, the person might have trouble moving for a bit and they might experience pain near the site of extraction. These are very common side effects, but it doesn’t mean that they have to suffer that long-term. At most, the pain will go away in a matter of a few weeks (4-8 weeks).
3. Donating Your Bone Marrow is Expensive
To be honest, it is. However, the donor will not have to pay anything at all. In fact, if the person donating their bone marrow is from a faraway place, their travel expenses will be reimbursed.
4. Bone Marrow Donation Requires a Lot of Time to Do
This is just far from the truth. In fact, the process of extracting the bone marrow cells typically only last 1-2 hours at most. The only thing that you need to think about is the recovery process, but even that is not a problem at all. You could be back to normal doing the normal stuff that you do in just a matter of a few days after donation.
5. All of Your Family Members’ Bone Marrow Can Be a Perfect Match
When it is time that YOU are going to be the one who is in need of a bone marrow transplant, your attending physician will turn to your family members and test them if they’re a good match for you.
However, this is not to say that they are automatically compatible with you, even though you have the same lineage. All of your siblings and relatives will still need to undergo a series of tests to ensure that they’re going to be the perfect match for you.
There are so many myths surrounding bone marrow donation that deters people from giving their own bone marrow for treatments. However, some of them are just blown out of proportion and some are really just outright lies. I hope that this article has shed some much-needed light about the process of donating your bone marrow cells.