Donation Process

Once you are have registered with the Bone Marrow registry on the blood donation clinic, you have stated your interest in potentially becoming a bone marrow donor for any patient worldwide, up until the age of 55.

If you are fortunate enough to be found to be a potential suitable donor for a patient, we will contact you to discuss the next steps and whether you are still able and willing to help the matched patient. If you are, there are one of two ways a donor can donate stem cells / bone marrow. The choice will be dictated by the patient’s needs and donor suitability.

Bone Marrow Donation

Bone marrow donation occurs in St James's Hospital, Dublin. This involves a 2 night hospital stay and you can resume work within 2 weeks. Bone marrow is collected from your pelvic bones using a needle and syringe. You will be given a general anaesthetic so you will be asleep during the donation procedure. This is a very safe procedure with the biggest risk being the general anaesthetic. The after effects of this donation can be tiredness, with aching and stiffness around the hip area. Your body will take a week or so to replace the donated marrow. We will be in contact with you regularly following the donation to check on your wellbeing.

Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Donation

This is an alternative to giving a bone marrow donation. A growth factor called Granulocyte Colony Stimulating Factor (G-CSF) is given to the donor. This drug is similar to a hormone produced naturally in the body. A doctor or nurse gives an injection of this drug for 4 days before the donation procedure. The drug stimulates the bone marrow to increase its production of stem cells that then spill into the bloodstream.

The stem cells are collected using a cell separator machine. This is the same system that is used in platelet donation.  Sterile needles are placed in both arms; blood is removed from a vein in one arm and passes through plastic tubing into the machine. The machine separates the blood stem cells from the rest of the donor's blood. The blood stem cells are collected into a bag and the remainder of the blood is returned to the donor using the vein in the other arm. This procedure is carried out in St James Hospital, Dublin and takes up to six hours. If insufficient cells are obtained after the collection you will be asked to receive a fifth injection and have a further collection procedure the next day. The risks of this procedure will be discussed with you prior to your agreement to donate.

Check your eligibility

For further recruitment queries contact by email on or telephone us on 01 4322836.