Bone marrow can be simply defined as a soft tissue present in the inner side of bones where new blood cells are produced. A stem cell transplantation or a bone marrow transplant is a surgical operation which can be implemented when bone marrow fails to generate new and healthy blood cells. Such condition may occur due to any previous chemotherapy treatment or presence of an underlying disease such as blood cancer, especially lymphoma, leukemia, or multiple myeloma. Bone marrow transplant cost may vary depending on facilities of health care center and patient’s overall requirement.

Myths and Facts about Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Donation

The following points exhibit some most common myths along with facts associated with bone marrow and stem cell donation.

·        Myth - Stem cell donation procedure is extremely painful and difficult

Fact - Stem cell donation is quite similar to blood platelets donation procedure and involves a minimal degree of pain. Generally, surgeons give filgrastim injections to donors a few days prior to donation for promoting extra blood cell formation in bone marrow. During this phase, a donor may feel slightly uncomfortable and may experience bone pain. However, such symptoms dissolve within a short span. In addition to this, donors are operated under the influence of general anesthesia. Therefore, they stay in a sleeping condition and do not experience any pain.

·        Myth - Blood cancer patients will receive their marrow from a family member

Fact - These days, stem cell transplantation is mostly performed for treating deadly blood cancer disease. Surgeons may preserve healthy stem cells of patients suffering from blood cancer prior their treatment and may utilize these cells after successful completion of blood cancer treatment to restore the production of healthy blood cells in patient’s body. In other instances, stem cells can be derived from any healthy donor which have identical blood characteristics. There is no restriction that donor necessarily has to be a family member.

·        Myth - Bone marrow is generally taken out of spine

Fact - There exist two ways to donate stem cells namely peripheral blood stem cell donation and bone marrow donation. In most instances, peripheral blood stem cell method is used which requires gathering cells directly from bloodstream. Another approach is bone marrow donation that involves extracting marrow from pelvic bone using a specialized medical instrument.

·        Myth - Bone marrow donation may result in long-term health issues

Fact - This statement is absolutely false and has no evidence. A donor does not get any health issues following bone marrow donation. They can resume their daily normal life within a week. However, filgrastim injections may cause problems like headaches, weakness, and bone pain for a couple of days. These problems automatically get resolved and donors can recover speedily. Bone marrow donation does not result in any serious or long-term complications.

·        Myth - Bone marrow donation is a time-consuming procedure  

Fact - Bone marrow donation is a pre-planned procedure. Donors will be asked to register themselves first and accordingly they will be given a particular time period when they will have to visit respective doctors. They will be given an injection to boost stem cell production four to five days before actual donation. Complete procedure of stem cell donation will not take more than one day. It only requires just five to six hours.

Bone marrow donation is undoubtedly a safe procedure. People who are interested in bone marrow donation should meet a well-experienced doctor to ask their concerns and doubts. It can save lives of many patients.