About stem cell transplants
Peripheral blood stem cell collection
A nurse will come to your home or office to give you injections of granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) over four days. This is a naturally-occurring hormone which increases the number of stem cells your body produces. On the fourth day we’ll ask you to travel to the collection centre for your injection. The PBSC donation will start the next day.
You’ll then come to the collection centre, where a nurse or doctor will insert a tiny tube in your arm, draw out the blood, and pass it through a machine to collect the stem cells. Yep, it’s that simple.
Donating only takes about 4-5 hours. Occasionally we’ll need to collect more cells the following day. You won’t need a general anaesthetic or to stay in hospital overnight, though.
You might experience side effects like flu-like symptoms and aching, but they’re usually mild and only last just a couple of days.
Bone Marrow donation
You’ll spend two nights in a London hospital. Under general anaesthetic, doctors will take some bone marrow from your pelvis using a needle and syringe.
You’ll probably feel tired and have a little bruising and pain in your lower back after donation. But this generally passes within a week or so.
A courier will collect your cells and deliver them to the hospital where the recipient is waiting. They’ll usually give your stem cells to the recipient the same day or the day after you donate.
If the recipient’s body accepts them, the stem cells will start making healthy blood cells. You’ve given that person the chance to live – all while you were lying in bed. Not bad, eh?