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The post-donation timeline

What happens next

Patient and donor at Anthony Nolan Supporter Awards
Rupert (right) and his donor, Billy

Your health and wellbeing is our top priority, and the Donor Follow Up team will be in touch with you for up to 10 years after your donation! Here’s what to expect:

The post-donation timeline

The first month

  • 2-3 days: We will call you to see how you are doing, answer your questions, and share more information about what happens next.
  • 7 days: You will receive a survey by email to check on your recovery. It’s really important you complete this survey!
  • 14 days: If you donated bone marrow (not PBSC) you may get a second email or call to see how you are doing as it can take a little longer to recover from this type of donation.
  • 1 month: You’ll receive another survey by email, and it is important you return it to us. We will ask about your recovery and ask for feedback on your donation experience.  We will also ask how you feel about staying on the register and potentially donating again in future.

If your donated stem cells were cryopreserved

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If you were told that your donated cells were frozen, we will be in touch to keep you updated you about whether the transplant has taken place as planned or if it is still pending.  

3-6 month reminder

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We know you get a lot of information before and after donating, so we’ll send you an email a few months after donation to remind you of the key information about updates, and the possibility of writing to your recipient depending on the donor-recipient contact rules where they live.

The next 10 years and beyond

We will send you an annual questionnaire on the anniversary of your donation at years 1-6 and then at year 8 and year 10.

We will ask how you are after donating and if there have been any changes to your health. It's really important you complete this questionnaire and tell us about any changes to your health.

Why we ask about your health

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  • Some medical conditions or medications can affect whether you can stay on the donor register and donate again.
  • In a very small number of cases, there are some medical conditions such as auto-immune conditions which may be relevant to your recipient's treatment.
    • In this case, we will ask you some questions about your medical condition and, with your permission, we will share this with our medical team. We may also need to share this with the patient's transplant team.

Your recipient's transplant journey

The first month

  • Pre-transplant: The patient will be in hospital preparing for their transplant. This entails high doses of chemotherapy and sometimes radiotherapy to prepare their body for their new cells.
  • Transplant day: A volunteer courier will race to the patient’s hospital with your precious donation. Your cells will be transplanted within 72 hours, or if they were frozen they will be transplanted in the next few weeks.

    The transplant isn’t painful, and the patient will be awake while they receive the donated stem cells or bone marrow through a drip.
  • 1-30 days post-transplant: Your healthy stem cells will be making their way to the bone marrow to grow and mature into blood cells. This is called ‘engraftment’.
  • 30-100 days post-transplant: The patient’s immune system will slowly be getting stronger, but doctors will keep a close eye out for infections and complications. When they're ready they'll be discharged from hospital, but they'll still have lots of appointments and medications

Day 100

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Day 100 is a big milestone to reach after transplant, and this is when the patient will have a full follow-up appointment to check on their progress.

1 year post-transplant and beyond

Every patient’s recovery will vary, and there may be complications or setbacks, but hopefully, slowly, they’ll be getting back to what many call a ‘new normal’. They’ll be adjusting back to family life, work, or study.

However, the long term physical and emotional effects of a transplant mean that patients will continue to need regular check-ups.