Donating Bone Marrow

The first step toward donating bone marrow is to contact a local National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP)-approved donor center. All donors must be between the ages of 18-60 and in good health.

At the donor center, a representative will talk to you about the bone marrow donation process. After you give consent, a blood sample will be taken to test for markers on the surface of the white blood cells called HLA-A and B antigens. These results are entered into a computerized registry. Our local center is:

American Red Cross New York - Penn Region
825 John Street
West Henrietta, NY 14586-9790

If a match is made with a patient in need of a bone marrow transplant:

  • You’ll be asked to donate additional blood for more rigorous testing.
  • You’ll have a complete physical examination to make sure you’re healthy.
  • Assuming the results are suitable, the stem cell collection will be performed at an NMDP-approved collection center. The stem cells may be collected peripherally through a process called apheresis. Donors undergoing the apheresis process to collect stem cells will receive medication to help the stem cells move into the bloodstream. The stem cells may also be collected or harvested in the operating room under either general or spinal anesthesia. A small amount of your marrow is collected from the back of your pelvic bone with a special needle and syringe.
  • You may go home the same day as the harvest or stay overnight for observation and experience a bit of discomfort for a couple of days. Your bone marrow regenerates quickly.

For more information, visit the National Marrow Donor Program Web site or call 1-800-MARROW-2 (1-800-627-7692).