Myths and Facts
How much do you know about blood stem cell donation?
There are lots of myths out there about who can do it and what happens when you do. Take a look at the list below to make sure you know the reality.
Myth: You have to be the same blood group as the patient to be a matching donor.
Reality: Matching is performed by tissue type not blood group. However, some patients do take on the blood group of their donor, after the transplant.
Myth: Blood stem cell donation always requires surgery.
Reality: There are two ways to donate. You could do it through a vein in your arm which is non-surgical, known as a Peripheral Blood Stem Cell donation, or you could do it through a donation of bone marrow which does require surgery. The way you donate is requested by the patient’s doctor but you have the final decision.
Myth: Donating bone marrow involves removing bone from your body.
Reality: Bone marrow is a pulpy tissue found inside long bones. Bone marrow is like a factory where red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets are made. No actual bones or parts of bone are removed from the body.
Myth: Donating blood stem cells involves a lengthy recovery period.
Reality: Depending on how you donate, you could expect to be back to normal in between 1-10 days.
Myth: You can only donate to a member of your own family.
Reality: Only 30% of patients needing a transplant will find a matching donor from within their own family, generally from a sibling. 70% of people who need a transplant have to rely on the kindness of a stranger to save their life.
Myth: Donating blood stem cells is painful.
Reality: People who have donated via the bone marrow method compared the after-effects to a hard game of football. Many donors find the experience fulfilling and for some, it’s life-changing.
Myth: You have to be dead to donate blood stem cells.
Reality: All donations come from live donors.