Mayo Clinic: Years ago, after going through infertility
testing, my doctor told me someone would love a bone marrow
transplant from me because I have an overactive immune system.
Why does that make someone a good candidate? I am now 53 and
am wondering if Iím too old to donate bone marrow. If not,
how do I find out where I can go in my area to become a donor?
you for your interest in becoming a bone marrow donor. Bone
marrow donation can save lives, and thereís always a need
for people willing to donate. Although age is sometimes a
factor, the most important criteria for being a donor is to
have the stem cells in your bone marrow match those of the
recipient. To be considered as a donor, you can join the
registry of potential bone marrow donors thatís maintained
by the National Marrow Donor Program.
who need a bone marrow transplant often have blood disorders
or diseases that affect the immune system, such as leukemia,
lymphoma or severe anemia. A transplant may be necessary for
people with these conditions because their bone marrow may not
be able to make enough healthy stem cells, or because bone
marrow may not be able to regrow sufficiently following
chemotherapy or radiation therapy. A bone marrow transplant
can help make the blood cells the body needs, lowering the
risk of life-threatening infections, anemia and bleeding.
the procedure is called a bone marrow transplant, itís
actually the blood-forming stem cells within bone marrow that
benefit the transplant recipient. Bone marrow stem cells can
develop into red blood cells that carry oxygen to the body,
platelets that help blood clot or white blood cells that help
often best for people in need of bone marrow transplants to
receive their own stem cells, if possible. This process
usually is safer for the recipient. But in some cases, a
personís bone marrow may be too diseased to be used for a
transplant. In those situations, itís necessary to use stem
cells from a donor instead.
research shows that bone marrow donations from people between
the ages of 18 and 44 lead to more successful transplants.
Because of that, most physicians will select a donor under the
age of 45, when possible. However, people are allowed to be
donors until the age of 60, and there is particular need for
donors from minority populations and those from multiple
ethnic or racial backgrounds.
not aware of data supporting the theory that having a history
of infertility means you have a stronger immune system and, as
a result, would be a better bone marrow donor. In fact, if a
potential donor had children, that would make a transplant
physician less likely to select that person as a donor.
Medical research has shown bone marrow transplant recipients
with donors who have had children are at higher risk for a
transplant complication called chronic graft versus host
considered as a bone marrow donor, visit the National Marrow
Donor Programís website, bethematch.org. There you can learn
more and join the bone marrow donor registry. You should note
that potential donors between the ages of 45 and 60 are asked
to provide payment to cover the cost to join the registry.
the donorís stem cells repopulate well, so, theoretically, a
person could donate more than once. There can be pain after
bone marrow donation, but it usually does not interfere with
work or school. Peripheral blood donation (blood stem cells
collected directly from the blood) requires receiving growth
factor drugs and collection on an apheresis machine.
the registry to become a potential bone marrow donor is
commendable. As a donor, you have the opportunity to save a
personís life. Although your chances of being chosen are
lower due to the reasons outlined above, if you are chosen as
a bone marrow donor, you will potentially be someoneís cure.