Frequently Asked Questions…
We have tried to anticipate most of the common questions that tend to be asked, if you want to find out more feel free to contact us…
Will it hurt to donate my stem cells?
…It’s not as bad as many people think…PBSC donors (those who donate through blood) are treated as outpatients and may have flu-like symptoms while they are getting the injections to stimulate the production of stem cells. These will usually go away within 24 hours of the last injection. If you are donating stem cells by bone marrow harvest, short term lower back discomfort is common, this disappears in days. You will need a prcautionary overnight hospital stay to ensure you have fully recovered from the general anaesthetic.
I’ve heard the word “transplant” and “donor” being used…sounds like a serious medical procedure to me!
…It is unfortunate that the medical terminology used for organ donation has been utilised for stem cell donation, transplant and donor may imply you are permanently giving some part of your body that is simply NOT the case. You will regenerate the stem cells you donate very quickly with no adverse health implications to you.
Will it cost me anything?
…No…All reasonable out-of-pocket expenses including paying for and arranging all travel and accommodation requirements will be reimbursed.
What will happen with my stem cells?
…Your stem cells will be infused into a patients’s blood stream within days of donating. If the recipient’s body accepts them, the stem cells will start producing healthy blood cells. This will allow the body to carry oxygen round the body and fight infection. Please note, Anthony Nolan is linked to other registers around the world, your donation could be sent to a patient in need abroad. Likewise Anthony Nolan regularly interrogates overseas registers for donors in a reciprocal arrangement.
If I donate, how long will it take my body to replace the donated stem cells?
…The body begins to replace the stems cells immediately with levels returning to normal after an average of 21 days.
I’m over 30 and healthy. Why can’t I join the Anthony Nolan register?
…It costs approx. £100 to add each person to Anthony Nolan’s register. It can take many years for a person to be identified as a match however a donor has to be removed when they reach the age of 60.
Anthony Nolan have set age limits (16-30) because clinicians judge that donors from this age range provide the best outcomes for patients. In addition the recuiting of donors at an earlier age ensures potential donors can stay on the register for as long as possible. Delete Blood Cancer have a 17-55 recuitment age range.
If I donate, will the person who gets my stem cells know who I am?
…No, both you and the person you are helping will remain anonymous. This makes sure no one feels under pressure. For two years after the procedure, you will only be able to contact each other through messages sent via Anthony Nolan. After two years, and only if both of you agree, you can exchange contact details.
Why do you need to recruit more men than women?
…We particularly need to recruit more young men as they tend to be bigger and produce more stem cells than women. Young men are overwhelmingly more likely to be chosen by clinicians as a match for a patient in need of a transplant but at the moment they only account for 12% of the donors on the register. You can read a BBC article about this issue here…
Do women need to have had children to be eligible to donate?
…No. Both women who have and have not had children are eligible to donate. If you are pregnant you may join the register, but will not be eligible to donate until your baby is one year old.
I’m already an organ donor – does that mean I’m automatically on the Anthony Nolan register?
…No, Even if you are an organ or blood donor, you will still need to apply to join the stem cell register.
I’m already on the British Bone Marrow Registry – do I need to join the Anthony Nolan register too?
…No. You only need to be on one stem cell donor register all UK registers are searched for matches for a patient.
Do I have to be deceased to donate stem cells?
…No. Unlike organ donation, stem cell donations can only be taken while the donor is still alive.
I’m worried about the database and my saliva sample being used for other purposes!
…The information you furnish for the purpose of registration is administered by Anthony Nolan. The data is secure and dealt with in confidence according to the strict parameters laid down by the Data Protection Act. Neither your details nor the sample you furnish will be used for any purpose other than the purpose for which it was supplied i.e. matching your tissue type as a potential stem cell donor to that of a desperately ill patient/recipient.
I don’t have cancer why should I do this?
…The sad truth is that cancer can touch the lives of anyone… someone gets the devastating news every 20 minutes in the UK alone. It does not discriminate by race, age, gender or lifestyle… indeed the fit and healthy are just as vulnerable. Search wide enough and we will all know someone who has been affected.