Frequently Asked Questions


What is bone marrow donation?

Why should I become a donor?

Many people only begin to think about being a donor when someone in their family needs a transplant. But why wait? Every day, there are people searching desperately for a match. Most people who receive bone marrow transplants receive them from strangers. You have the power to save someone’s life!

Who is eligible to donate?

How do I become a donor?

First you need to join the Registry. Joining the Registry means we store your genetic information in our database. If your information matches that of a patient in need – you may be called upon to donate. Your information will remain in our records until you are 60 years old, or unless you change your mind. Donating is always voluntary.

Joining the registry is easy! All it takes is a few minutes – and a cotton swab in the mouth.

Does it hurt to donate?

There are two ways now to donate your BLOOD STEM CELLS. Through your MARROW OR through BLOOD

1) Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Donation harvests the stem cells from the blood and not directly from the bone itself. PBSC is the more common method, used in 70% of cases. You may feel muscle aches for the 4-5 days then after the excess stem cells are collected, donors have reported feeling no symptoms 30 minutes to an hour after.

2) Only 30% of the time marrow is extracted from the bone. This is most often to help sick children as they experience a higher success rate from marrow transplants as opposed to blood stem cells. For Marrow donation, local or general anesthesia will be used so there is no pain when the marrow is collected. There will be some soreness in the lower back area afterwards, and most donors can go about their daily activities the following day. Bone marrow COMPLETELY regenerates.

A small price to pay for knowing that you have saved a life!

Why does ethnicity matter?

Because marrow matches are made using a chromosone called an HLA match (human leukocyte antigen), every patient’s best possibility of finding a match is within their own ethnic group. Since Nigeria is home to one-quarter of Africa’s population, with almost 400 distinct ethnic groups, it is an ideal place for a bone marrow registry.

Special thanks to for providing some of the information used on this page.

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