Become A Bone Marrow Donor And Save a Life

Bone Marrow Donor
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It is estimated that 6,000 people in the United States need a bone marrow transplant. 11 million Americans who have volunteered to be marrow donors. More are needed, especially in racial and ethnic minorities. This is because transplant tissue type is linked with your racial and ethnic background. Many more African-Americans, Native Americans, Asian-Americans and Hispanics are needed to join the National Registry.

Bone marrow transplants can help treat cancers such as leukemia and blood disorders such as sickle cell disease. The bone marrow is where all kinds of blood cells are made, including red blood cells, white blood cells (which fight infection), and platelets.

To become a donor, you will need to join the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP). This allows doctors from around the world to search the registry to find donors that match their patients. To join the NMDP registry

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* You need to be between the ages of 18 and 60 years.
* You need to meet the health criteria. Persons with conditions such as HIV, insulin-dependent diabetes, hepatitis and autoimmune diseases are generally excluded.
* While there is no minimum weight requirement, there is a maximum. The maximum acceptable weight would be a person's weight associated with a body mass index (BMI) of 40.
* If you are part of a registration drive, then often the sponsor of the drive will cover the costs. If no, then you may be asked to pay for the tissue typing (approx $52).

Joining the registry involves completing a donation kit (available at marrow.org). Cotton swabs are swiped on the inside of the cheeks to determine the tissue type. The sample is then sent along with an in-depth health history questionnaire to the National Bone Marrow Program. Read: Biomedical Researchers Create Artificial Human Bone Marrow.

Once you are "matched" to someone who needs your marrow, there are two way that a donation can be done.

* A doctor can insert a needle into the back of the hip bone to retrieve the marrow
* A procedure called peripheral blood stem cell donation, or PBSC can be done to collect the cells. The blood is passed through a machine that separates out the cells used in transplants. The remaining blood is returned through the other arm.

MayoClinic.com: Bone marrow donation
National Marrow Donor Program

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Comments

I would be more than willing to add my name to the registry,. and to donate marrow. but being tested to add one's name is not an easy task - unless you live in a big city. for me, I would have to travel to Boston (a 40 minutes commute). And since I am my mom's caregiver, I can't just leave her and go off for several hours, unless I hire someone to come in to watch her. I don't understand why local hospitals can't have marrow drives, like blood drives. Or do them simultaneously - when you go to give blood, they can check you for donor marrow at the same time. I would be willing to bet there would be thousands more donors than there are now if it was easier to do, if the donation process was more accessible..
The NMDP had a donor drive at the college I was attending and I registered way back then. I've been able to update my info after every move so the can contact me. So far no one has.
I've been a blood donor for years. When I was asked if I wanted to be on the bone marrow list I said yes. The Red Cross said, "well, that will be $80." It seems ridiculous to ask the donor to cover those costs. That could be a big reason there aren't more donors on the list.
Being a BMT recipient, I am alive today because someone I didn't know took the time to register and donate stem cells to me. He saved my life. Think about that.
When you become a bone marrow donor, you join the global movement of more than 13 million donors who stand ready to give someone a future. You could be the one a patient needs The NMDP has made it so easy to Join the NMDP bone marrow donor Registry. Learn how you can join the Registry, Host a Marrow Drive and Share the Message of Hope. Help Now 1 (800) MARROW2 (1-800-627-7692) www.marrow.org