If you have a loved one who is battling cancer that matches your blood type, or if you want to be the type to give back to humanity and help a stranger who also shares the same blood type, you may consider donating your bone marrow. The only thing that may stop you is wondering how painful it is to do or what kind of effects it could have on you. Donating your bone marrow is a commitment to make if you agree to do so, and the best thing to do is to talk to your doctor about any concerns you have if you are looking to do so.
However, the fact of the matter is that you will not feel anything as it is done because you will be under a general during the process. Let’s now talk more about the process of bone marrow donation, and what happens to your body during the time you are donating and afterward.
How Does Bone Marrow Donation Work?
When doctors harvest your bone marrow, you are under a general in an operating room. The way it is done is that a needle is inserted into your hip as it is a large bone. You are in a completely sterile setting so you do not need to worry about contracting any kind of bacteria or other infection during the process. Around two liters of bone marrow is withdrawn from your hip bone and even though that sounds like too much bone marrow to provide, it only accounts for less than ten percent of your bone marrow. If you realized that you make over 20 billion blood cells in your marrow daily, you will realize that there is no danger in two liters of your marrow being removed from your body.
Additionally, within four to six weeks after the procedure, the cells in your marrow go back to normal. During that time, you will function normally as well. However, that does not mean you won’t have effects either. It is completely normal to experience pain and discomfort in the area of the hip where the marrow was taken. That may be experienced for more than a week, and you may also experience plenty of fatigue too. Therefore, you could be tired and have hip and back pain, and you may also for a short time experience some nausea from the anesthetic but that will settle within days.
However, if you are in a high-performing job where you cannot take some time off to rest and recuperate, you will have to carefully time your procedure. You do not want to schedule the procedure during the crunch time of your job. Or if you are a young parent, you will need to make childcare arrangements for the first few days after the procedure so you have time to rest. The procedure is usually an outpatient one, but sometimes you may spend a few days in the hospital if needed. Expect to take around seven to ten days off of work. If you are a parent, you will want to ensure that you have extra hands to help you with childcare for that time period as well.
Just know that it is extremely rare to have any serious effects from bone marrow donation, but the risk is not zero either. There was one death and a few others who had cardiovascular ailments that were tied to bone marrow donation. That is why it is absolutely essential to talk to your doctor about it if you plan to donate. You may not be the ideal candidate if you have cardiovascular ailments or other conditions that could put you at risk.