Most people give through a Peripheral Blood Stem Cell (PBSC) donation. A machine draws blood from one arm, extracts the cells it needs, and returns the remaining blood back to your body through your other arm.
For some people, the doctor will need to extract marrow directly from the back of your pelvic bone with a needle. In this case, you’ll receive anesthesia and feel no pain during the procedure.
While TV shows and movies have wildly exaggerated bone marrow donation as something scary, the reality is much less dramatic. Donors are given anesthesia so they feel no pain during collection. Discomfort during recovery varies from person to person. Side effects may include back pain, fatigue, headache or bruising for a few days or weeks.
PBSC donors may experience headaches or body aches several days before collection, but these disappear shortly after donation.
Most donors feel completely recovered within a few weeks. A small price to pay for the chance to save a life.
Your body replaces the marrow that you give. And while no medical procedure is completely risk-free, every precaution is taken to ensure the safety and well-being of the donor.