Frequently Asked Questions

What is the donation process? Does it hurt?

In the past, Bone Marrow Extraction was the sole technique available and required a needle to extract bone marrow from inside of the pelvic bone. The procedure was done under general or local anesthesia so the donor felt no pain, though it was possible to have slight lower back soreness for a couple days.

Today, the majority of donations today do not require surgery. In the PBSC (peripheral blood stem cell) procedure, your blood is filtered to extract bone marrow stem cells.The experience is similar to donating blood.


How long does it take to donate marrow?

The Peripheral Blood Stem Cell process takes 6-8 hours over 1-2 days. Most donors report the worst part is boredom. :)


Don’t I need my bone marrow?

You sure do. But only 5-10% of a donor’s bone marrow is donated, and your body naturally replenishes its supply within a couple weeks. 


What does it cost?

Entering the registry is free of charge. That said, it costs the National Marrow Donor Program about $100 to analyze each sample, so if you have the means to contribute, we encourage you to do so!

Note: a few people have reported a glitch with the marrow registry website where it tries to charge them a fee to sign up. If you see that, use promo code PIF070109 to sign up for free (and please let us know).

If you’re selected as a donor, the National Marrow Donor Program helps with any needed travel costs as well. 


How do I get tested to see if I’m a match?

Order a free test kit, and follow the easy instructions! (Basically, stick a few Q-tips against the inside of your cheek, stuff ‘em in the included envelope, and mail ‘em back to the NMDP.)


If I swab, how likely am I to be asked to be a donor?

According to the NMDP, your odds are about 1 in 540.


Can I get tested just for Amit?

You can, but if you are willing to enter the registry, and willing to donate to any potential match, you have a real chance of saving someone’s life.


How can I get tested for free?

If you’re in the United States, you can order a free test kit by mail. If you’re outside the USA, see our list of registries around the world for one near you!


I’m not eligible to donate marrow for health or age reasons. Are there other ways to help?

Surely! Consider organizing a drive%

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