Frequently Asked Questions
1. How is a match determined?
You give a swab sample and send it in or get a simple blood test. It takes about 3-4 weeks to determine a match.
2. Where do I go?
Go to the appropriate website listed on our registries page and download the consent form. Depending on where you live, you can complete it online or you have to download the form and fax it back.
3. I might have consented to donating marrow in the past when I gave blood. How can I make sure?
Donating blood and offering a blood sample for bone marrow typing are typically treated as two different processes. You should not assume you are on the registry because you have donated blood in the past. Confirm your status with your blood donor organization and also update your contact information if you have moved. They may need to find you.
4. I've been prohibited from giving blood. Does that mean I can't donate marrow, either?
It depends on the reason that you can't give blood. There is some overlap in different registries' prohibitions, but they're not identical. Your best bet is to contact your country's registry and ask.
5. What happens if I match someone?
You will be contacted by your regional program. You will undergo additional testing for matching verification, and to ensure your health and that you have no infectious disease that could be passed to the recipient. If you consent to donation, you could be admitted in as little as two weeks, if it's urgent, and schedules permit it. You will undergo a procedure where peripheral stem cells are extracted from circulating blood, or a procedure to extract liquid marrow from within the pelvic bone.
6. How long will it take?
Bone marrow donation is typically done as day surgery and you may be in the hospital for 1 or 2 days. Expect to allot 3 days for this experience, as you should rest before and after any surgical procedure.
7. Yes, but does it hurt?
There is no excruciating pain associated with bone marrow surgery. Many people will experience discomfort and soreness in the hip or lower back region for a few days. This can be resolved with pain medication.
8. What if I am not sure I want to have bone marrow extracted?
You are only consenting to be added to the registry and be notified OF you match. If you change your mind you can decline to donate marrow after notification, but you must do so quickly; once the recipient is prepared for the transplant (chemotherapy), there is a risk of death if the transplant doesn't occur.
9. Who is more likely to match a recipient?
There is a greater chance that someone from the same ethnic background will match, but the match can come from anybody. Emru will be harder to match because there are fewer people in the general immediate population with the same ethnic background.
Emru's ethnic background is mostly people of African descent, and his parents are from Jamaica and Trinidad; essentially, the more black people and West Indians donate, the better it is statistically. However, this only increases his chances. Anyone from any background might be a match. The match may come from the most unexpected donor, or may help someone else who is waiting for a donor.
10. Can I donate to Emru specifically?
Donations are anonymous. If you match with someone it may or may not be Emru. But no matter who you match with, you will be helping them in the same way if you decide to donate.