Can Males and Females Donate Bone Marrow?
Life is a mystery (a great, grand, perplexing, confusing mystery!) and we should never be discouraged from asking questions. Children are inquisitive folk and they’re always asking questions to learn. For some reason, we lose that impulse as we get older when we need it the most. With this in mind, it’s time to get this state of mind back.
In this brilliant guide (if we say so ourselves!), the all-important question is whether both women and men can donate bone marrow. You may not have even realized that bone marrow was something you could donate it does sound a bit odd, we admit.
Starting at the beginning makes more sense than at the end, so let us explore more about bone marrow donation itself. Bone marrow donation is the process of taking blood-forming cells from a donor’s bone marrow and then moving them across to another person (the recipient). The squeamish may be reading from behind a cushion, but it’s an integral part of the medical world.
Why, you may ask? To replace the unhealthy or damaged stem cells that we don’t want in the recipient with healthy, functioning cells that we do want from a compatible donor. Donors must undergo an exhaustive screening process that includes physical exams, laboratory tests, and genetic testing.
Cells aren’t even something that most people think about but this is a luxury. Others are sadly forced to think about cells every minute of the day, if not every second, as they fight specific health issues and diseases. Leukemia or lymphoma are two such conditions where a bone marrow donation can be life-changing.
It’s the time you’ve been waiting for – is it possible for men and women to donate bone marrow through legitimate means? The short answer is yes (hooray!). Those who like long answers in life will want to know that compatible donors are important in the process so it’s best to have more options, which means both male and female donors rather than cutting the market in half with one decision.
Even if you don’t qualify as a bone marrow donor based on the criteria set by the donation agency, there are still ways to help because you can make financial donations or become an advocate for those in need of life-saving treatments, even sharing a post on social media is better than doing nothing.
To start, like many other things in life these days you’ll need the internet to join a registry. Please don’t think that you’re imposing in any way because most registries are crying out for help. After some basic information is gathered, the registry will hold your details until you’re found to be a match for somebody. At this stage, you will have various other tests to check that you can indeed assist the person in need.
If it’s confirmed that you’re a good match, it’s all systems go for the donation (yay!). You’ll have to take several days off work and attend an appointment at a hospital or clinic. The donor is put under general anesthesia for the removal of the marrow cells – this procedure lasts around 30 minutes, so it’s not as invasive as you may think. Depending on what the recipient needs, your experience can differ because there are two ways to donate.
The most commonly used method is to collect blood stem cells from the bloodstream and this type of collection requires a donor to take medication for three days leading up to the procedure, which will stimulate stem cell production. The second option is a bone marrow harvest in which doctors extract marrow directly from your hip bone using needles.
Why not join a registry and become a hero to someone today?