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Two-day PBSC donations

If you’re donating your stem cells via the PBSC method, then your donation will be scheduled over two consecutive days.  

To help you understand why, and to know what to expect, this page includes the key things to remember, including: 

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact your Donor Provision Coordinator at Anthony Nolan.   

Why are two-day donations needed? 

All PBSC donations are scheduled to take place over two consecutive days. This is to make sure we can collect enough stem cells for the patient or research study, which may take two donations.   

We always ask you to plan for a two-day donation, and then it’s considered a bonus if your donation is finished in one day! 

Why does it take longer for some donors? 

When you’re donating stem cells, the doctors will have a target number of cells the patient needs for their transplant or the researcher will have a target number of cells for their study. Sometimes, this target isn’t reached in one day which can happen for lots of reasons, including: 

  • The patient weighs a lot more than the donor. 
  • The target for the number of cells is higher than normal. 
  • The donor has a slow blood flow. 
  • The G-CSF injections didn’t mobilise the donor’s extra stem cells enough. 

Everyone’s body is different and sometimes there’s no specific reason. But if you don’t reach the target number of cells on day one  then your donation will take the full two days. 

When will you know if your donation will take two days? 

You should ideally find out no later than 4pm on the first day of your donation if you’re needed for the second day.  

Once you’ve finished on the machines, the cells will be taken to the labs to be counted, which takes just over an hour. The collection centre will then let you know if you need to come back the next day.  

We always ask donors to make sure they’re free both days of their scheduled donation. We would never book a donation if you weren’t free on one of the days. 

What happens if you need to donate on day two? 

What happens on day one? 

Once the collection centre has told you you’ll need to come back the next day, they’ll give you another dose of G-CSF injections. You will then either return to your hotel or go home, and we recommend you drink plenty of water, have a good dinner and avoid any alcohol or strenuous activity. 

If you required a central line to be placed for your donation, you will be asked to stay overnight in the hospital so the line can stay in place.  

What happens on day two? 

If you’ve stayed in a hotel overnight, you’ll return to the same hospital and repeat the same steps as the day before.  

Your donation on day two might take the same amount of time, or it could be quicker.  You don’t need to wait for the cell count after you finish donating so can leave the hospital as soon as you’re done.  

Will the recovery process be any different? 

Your recovery will be very similar whether you donate over one or two days. You can find out more about what to expect on our post-donation care advice page.