Marrow Matters - Bone Marrow Transplant - Aplastic Anemia  
Aplastic Anemia

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When a person needs a bone marrow transplant, they are facing a life-threatening disease, such as Aplastic Anemia, for which their medical team has determined they either will only survive with a bone marrow transplant from a person with healthier bone marrow, or their chances of surviving will be greatly improved by the transplant.

does blood type matter for donor matching?

The donor and the receipients' blood types (such as types A+, A-, AB, O+) need not match, and in most transplants, the two blood types do not match one another.

The recipient of a bone marrow transplant whose blood type doesn't match his or her donor's blood type will eventually have a blood type change from whatever his or her blood type was originally to the donor's blood type.

A child doesn't inherit his or her blood group genetics and HLA genetics together. The gene (the DNA) for eye color is separate from the gene for one's blood group, as is the DNA for HLA.

What matches between donor and patient recipient before the two can be said to match for transplant?

Bone marrow donors are matched to the recipient patient's tissue type, not their blood type. The matching process is called HLA-matching. A secondary assessment is done to analyze antibodies, and determine what level of antibody differing exists between the donor and the recipient.

who Can Be a bone marrow donor?

A series of questions are asked of teh potential bone marrow donor. You can read those questions by registering at the website, The questions are intended to filter out those who absolutely can't be a donor. For example, a person under treatmetn for a cancer cannot be a donor, a pregnant person cannot be a donor, a person who has had a one marrow transplant cannot be a donor. There are many rules about who cannot be a donor, and a few general guidelines for who can be a bone marrow donor.

Historical medical data has shown the best bone marrow donors for a one marrow transplant are male siblings. The second best candidate for a bone marrow donor is a female sibling. If neither of those are available, centers have historically sought a match from the registry (aka

If there is no sibling match, the next search goes directly to the Bone Marrow Association. Time is usually of the utmost critical importance, because transplants usually must occur extremely quickly.

For that reason, it is so very critically important for people who wish to be considered as a potential donor to register with the Bone Marrow Registry. You just never know when the answer to the matching question will come up in a family, maybe yours, and need to be answered quickly.

You can register at

how is bone marrow taken for a donation?

Bone marrow can be extracted from a donor in several manners; the two most common methods of acquiring bone marrow from a donor are from the blood stream, and from the bone marrow.

A bone marrow transplant is usually accomplished by means of a transplant of blood stem cells. Blood stem cells produce blood cells. The body is full of blood stem cells; they are in the tissues, the blood stream, and throughout a person's body. A major number of blood stem cells exist in the bone marrow where blood cells are created. The bone marrow is the center portion of all bones. The largest bone marrow depositories in a person's body are in their hips and breast bone.

The numbers of blood stem cells that exist in the blood stream are insufficient for an effective bone marrow transplant. In cases in which doctors seek to extract blood stem cells from the blood stream, a drug is given to the donor that causes a proliferation of blood stem cells into the blood stream. Once there is a sufficient quantity of blood stem cells in the bloodstream, the donation of the stem cells is a simple matter of a giving blood.

Blood stem cell donations from the bloodstream are not the preferred method.

Blood stem cells taken directly from the bone marrow are more plentiful, and research has indicated that in some situations, bone marrow donations are much more successful.

Blood stem cell donations from the marrow are usually extrapolated from the hips in a place called the dimple. The donor is taken into outpatient surgery because they are put under anesthesia so that they cannot feel the aspiration of bone marrow. The process takes about 2-3 hours.

a tribute to donors

"Thank you" can have a multitude of meanings. To a recipient of a bone marrow donor, the thank you's are priceless - they are thanks for life, literally.

Thank you to Nick for donating blood stem cells to his sister, Victoria; you gave the gift of life. You are our hero.

aplastic anemia Information:

For more information about Aplastic Anemia, please consider these sites:

Aplastic Anemia Association

One Life Matters BLOG


Bone Marrow Donation

Bone Marrow Testing