Not every member of Be The Match Registry® goes on to donate for a patient. If you have donated bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cells (PBSC), thank you for helping a patient in need. We deeply appreciate the time and effort you have given as a donor.
At the time of your donation, your donor center will give you detailed information about what to expect after donation and who to contact if you have problems or questions. Please follow any instructions given to you by your donor center and the center where you donated.
What you can expect for a recovery timeframe varies depending on the type of donation.
- Marrow and PBSC donors should expect to return to work, school and most other activities within 1 to 7 days.
- A good rule of thumb is the more physically demanding the job, the longer the recovery. For example, if your job involves heavy lifting, the timeframe may be closer to 7 days.
- Most marrow donors report that they feel completely recovered within 3 weeks of donation.
- Most PBSC donors report that they feel completely recovered within 2 weeks of donation.
Your donor center coordinator will follow up with you until you are able to resume normal activity.
After that, if you chose to participate in our long-term donor follow-up study, we or your donor center will contact you by phone every other year to ask health-related questions. This phone call would take about 5-10 minutes. For complete information about the long-term donor follow-up study, contact us at LTDFU@nmdp.org or (800) 526-7809 ext. 4365.
Your donor center can also answer your questions and help with any issues related to your donation. If you need further help, you can contact our Donor Advocacy Program.
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Updates and contact with your recipient
You’ve invested a lot of time and emotion as a donor, and you may be eager to put a name and face to your recipient. In some cases this is possible, but you should also be prepared for it not to happen. For many reasons, a recipient may not send or respond to letters or may choose not to have direct contact.
- Some transplant centers may provide up to three updates within the first year after transplant. However, some transplant centers do not provide updates.
- During the first year after transplant, some centers allow anonymous communication between you and your recipient.
- Some centers allow direct contact between donors and recipients one or more years after transplant, if both you and your recipient consent.
- Some centers do not allow you to have contact with your recipient at any time.
See the guidelines for contacting your recipient.
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You're a Match: A Donor's Guide to Donation (PDF) - Outlines what to expect after you donate bone marrow or PBSC.
This information is also available in Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese.