How are stem cells donated?

A stem cell (bone marrow) transplant involves replacing the blood stem cells of a patient with healthy ones donated by a donor.

There are two possible ways you may be asked to donate your stem cells if you are found to match a patient in need. The method of your collection is determined by what the doctors believe will be best for the patient and your individual choice.

In the vast majority of cases your stem cells will be collected as an outpatient in a procedure similar to giving blood. This process is called Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Collection. It takes around 4-5 hours and a simply involves a tiny tube inserted into your arm that connects to a machine that collects the stem cells before returning the blood back to your body.

In a minority of cases it is preferable to extract a small amount of liquid bone marrow from the back of your hip bone using a special syringe. This process is called Bone Marrow Harvest. It is done under a general anaesthetic and you’ll usually need to stay a couple of nights in hospital for this procedure.

Click here to find out about registering as a stem cell (bone marrow) donor

The Little Yellow Duck Project creates and distributes handcrafted gifts to raise global awareness of blood, bone marrow, organ and tissue donation.