Marrow Program FAQS
How Do I Become a Donor? Rutland Regional, and our affiliate programs, hold many testing drives each year. To get your name on the National Registry, attend one of these drives, or call 802.747.8667 to make arrangements to be tested if there are no drives scheduled in your area.
What is the Cost to be a Donor? There is no cost to the potential donor. The cost for the tissue testing that places you on the Registry is covered by our programs. If you are selected as a donor, the National Marrow Donor Program pays all other costs. These include one person to accompany you and will include hotel, meals, gas, child care, pet care and any other expenses you may have associated with being a volunteer donor.
Who is Eligible to Donate? To be eligible to be a donor you must be between the ages of 18 and 44 and be in good general health. There are some health reasons that would require a potential donor to be deferred from the program, such as back problems, asthma, and heart problems.
What is the Procedure Like? The first step is to attend a drive. At the drive you will fill out a health screening and consent form, then swab the inside of your cheek to provide a DNA sample for the testing that will place you on the National Registry. If you are selected as a potential match, you will be called back for additional testing.
If you are found to be a final match, you would travel to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center for the donation. There are two ways the donation can be done. The most common way is through a process called aphaeresis. This involves you receiving an injection for 4-5 days prior to the donation. This injection will stimulate your stem cells to reproduce as a higher rate. On the 5th day your blood will be removed from your arm using a sterile needle and then a machine will separate the immature stem cells and your blood will be returned to you in your other arm. This process takes approximately four hours. The second procedure involves the bone marrow being taken from the back of your pelvic bone by a needle. There is no incision, and no stitches, to recover from. You may choose either general or local anesthesia. Plan on spending the night at DHMC if your donation is done this way.
Does Marrow Donation Hurt? Following the procedure, donors can expect to feel some soreness in the lower back for a few days if you donate via the surgical procedure. Previous donors have said that the more you move around after your donation, the better you feel. There are no stitches to heal from and most donors are back to their usual routine in a few days. Side effects from the aphaeresis method include aches such as you would experience from the flu up until the day of donation. Once your donation is complete the soreness goes away. You may experience some lingering tiredness for a few days afterward.