Steps of donation

The first step to becoming a bone marrow donor is to join the Stem Cell Donor Registry

Join the Registry

If you are between 18 and 35 years of age and in good health, and have no history of cancer (with the exception of basal cell carcinoma), you are a potential stem cell donor!

For an information package, contact our personnel at 1-800-565-MOEL (6635), ext. 279.

Once duly informed and after you have added your name to the Stem Cell Donor Registry, we will take a blood sample to assess your genetic profile. Your test results remain confidential and are only used to help us find a donor compatible with a patient requiring a stem cell transplant. Only a small number of individuals will eventually be called upon to donate stem cells.

If a patient with the same HLA characteristics as you requires a donation, Héma-Québec will contact you in order to ensure that you are still prepared to make a donation, and we will explain the following steps to you. You will then have to undergo other blood tests to determine your compatibility with the intended patient. If the results are satisfactory, we will ask you to donate stem cells from your bone marrow or your peripheral stem cells, depending on the patient’s needs.

You have the right to refuse to make a stem cell donation at any time, but keep in mind that recipients begin intensive chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy treatments to prepare them for the transplant from seven to ten days before the donation.

Join the Stem Cell Donor Registry

Bone Marrow Donation

Preparation for the donation
The preparation period for the donation can be as short as two weeks in urgent cases, or it can be spread over several months. It usually lasts from five to seven weeks and includes an interview with the counsellor we will assign you, an examination at the hospital centre where the donation will be made and a meeting with the medical team that will eventually proceed with the collection.

Bone marrow collection
Bone marrow is removed from the hip bones with special sterile needles in the operating room under general or epidural anesthesia. This bone marrow will be transfused into the patient within 24 to 36 hours. The bone marrow transfusion procedure is identical to the procedure used in blood transfusion.

For an adult patient, the usual amount required is about one litre of bone marrow (or 3 to 5% of the total volume of bone marrow in the body), which is twice the volume collected during a whole blood donation.

What are the risks associated with donating bone marrow?
No surgery or anesthetic is risk-free. The doctor who will be collecting your bone marrow will explain these risks and the specific risks of bone marrow donation to you. Donating bone marrow usually involves a 24-hour stay in hospital. The pain caused by the procedure is mild, and complications are rare. Donating bone marrow does not compromise your health in any way, because the marrow removed is replaced naturally in just three to four weeks

Stimulated Peripheral Stem Cell Donation

The patient’s doctor may ask for a donation of stem cells from a source other than the bone marrow: the peripheral blood.

To collect peripheral stem cells, the donor is injected with a substance that increases the quantity of stem cells circulating in the blood. The cells are then harvested using a process called apheresis. Blood is drawn from the donor’s arm with a needle into a centrifuge which removes the stem cells. The remaining blood is injected back into the donor through the same needle.

Like bone marrow donation, this procedure takes place at the hospital centre where the collection is made. The physician in charge of collecting the stem cells will explain the particular risks of this type of donation to you.

Any questions ?
Read the Guide for the potential donor Stem Cell Donor Registry
or contact us at :
1 800 565-MOEL (6635), ext 279