Becoming a Marrow Donor
Add your name to the national marrow registry and potentially connect with a patient in need.
At Rutland Regional Medical Center, we work with affiliate programs to hold testing drives each year. To join the national marrow registry, attend one of these drives, visit the registry online or call 802.747.8667 to make arrangements to be tested.
Who is Eligible to Donate?
Eligible donors must be between the ages 18 and 44 and be in good general health. There are some health reasons that preclude a potential donor from consideration. A partial list is below, but please call to check with us if you have questions.
If you have any of the following conditions, you will not be considered for the Rutland Regional Marrow Donor Program:
- Arthritis (osteo or degenerative are acceptable if not in the lower back or hips)
- Bleeding disorders
- Blood Clot – DVT
- Cancer – some cured conditions are acceptable, call for more information
- Diabetes – if insulin dependent
- Heart problems – some conditions are acceptable, call for more information
- Hepatitis B surface antigen
Hepatitis C antibody
HIV positive or AIDS
- Multiple sclerosis
- Muscular dystrophy
- Sickle cell anemia (sickle cell trait is acceptable)
How Am I Tested?
You’ll receive a health screening, consent form and information about the procedure by mail after you attend a drive or reach out to us to be a donor.
After you’ve read the information and completed the consent form, call to schedule a time to be tested with a cheek swab. This procedure takes approximately 10 minutes. You’ll then be placed in the Be The Match® Registry.
Are There Costs to Be a Donor?
There is no cost to be a donor. The cost for tissue testing that places you in the registry is covered by Rutland Regional’s 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 expenses for a hotel, meals, gas, child care, pet care and any other costs associated with being a volunteer donor.
What is the Marrow Donation Procedure Like?
After making the decision to become a marrow donor, you’ll be assigned one of two methods to donate. The recipient’s doctor will determine which is best:
This is the most common procedure, which collects immature stem cells from the donor’s blood, much like when you give blood. You’ll receive an injection four to five days prior to the donation. The injection stimulates your stem cells to reproduce at a higher rate.
On the fifth day, blood is removed from your arm using a sterile needle. The blood is entered into a machine that separates the immature stem cells, and your blood is returned to you in your other arm. The whole process takes approximately four hours.
Side effects of this procedure include aches—similar to having the flu—up until the day of donation. Once your donation is complete, the soreness often goes away. You may experience some lingering fatigue for a few days afterward.
This procedure extracts the liquid marrow from inside the back of the donor’s pelvic bone by a needle. There will be no incision or stitches from which to recover, but you may choose either general or local anesthesia. Plan on spending the night at the hospital if your donation is done via extraction.
Side effects include soreness in your lower back; however, past donors have said that moving the body after donation helps alleviate this pain. Because there are no incisions, most donors are back to their usual routine in a few days.