T Nation

Donating Bone Marrow


I have been requested to show up at my hospital as my marrow matches some random person i'm a random unmatched donor so lucky for whoever it is.

Just started in the gym 2 weeks ago, anyone know if im able to go back straight away ?

Nurse i rang informed me that it depends on the person how fast you can leave, but i never get sick or anything so i presume i'll be leaving same day.

Donating blood today but shouldn't effect my gym effort at all.

Thank you for your time.


Sent me on an email ..

Could anyone honestly imagine someone withdrawing after reading that, good grief.


My hat's off to you for your generosity, STB.

I recall seeing something on TV a few years ago regarding marrow donation. The donor in the show was under a general anesthesia for the procedure, but was in a bit of pain for a couple of weeks after.

I believe that anyone putting themselves under the weekly pain of lifting heavy iron shouldn't have any problem with the whole procedure and aftermath.

Good luck.


Have you ever donated blood before, or do you simply not try very hard at the gym?


Are you asking about getting back to the gym after actually donating marrow? There are two methods for donation: "In the past, donation of stem cells from bone marrow involved minor surgery to draw marrow from your hipbones. Stems cells were then collected from the donated marrow. Today the most common way of collecting the stem cells is by filtering them directly from your blood. Doctors call this procedure peripheral blood stem cell donation, but many people still refer to it as bone marrow donation, even though bone marrow isn't directly involved."

I can't answer about the the new method, but can tell you from the "old school" method, you'll need to take some time off from the gym. You'll just be too tired. If you have any questions about going through a donation, feel free to pm me. I've done it and am more than willing to answer any questions you may have.


Thank you for being a marrow donor and a blood donor. Ilost my hsuband to cancer two and a half years ago. He needed blood transfusions on a regular basis, and watching his skin turn pink and his energy level rebound after the transfusion was nothing short of miraculous.

I lost a family friend to leukemia as she waited for a donor match for marrow. I tried to donate in her honor, but because I had a cadaver graft in October (ACL repair), I am permanently deferred.

I run the Red Cross blood drives at my workplace.



I agree with the sentiment here...but do hospitals really send out EMAILS like this when the subject is this serious? I would think a phone call and a consultation would make more sense.


Well, I donated over 10 years ago so take what I say as being dated. At that time, communications were all phone and mail. I was out of the country when they attempted to contact me - I had several messages on my answering machine and messages at work as well. They sent a package with a videotape explaining the procedure and what it means but only after initial blood tests confirmed me as the best match.


Got nothing helpful to add, but wanted to say you're a good guy.


I donated stem cells via the newer blood filtering procedure just over a year ago. You can return to lifting weights or exercising within a day or two. I routinely give blood every 8 weeks and this was no worse than that from a recovery standpoint. Just take a day or two off at most and youâ??ll be fine. I have no idea what the doctorâ??s official recommendation was though. As a donor you will get some shots starting about a week before you donation to stimulate your bones into making more stem cells. This can cause a little bit of bone / joint pain similar to what you feel when you have flu so be prepared for that as well.

Also as you mentioned the recipient will start an irreversible procedure about 10 days before your donation. Even though it rarely happens, if for whatever reason on the day of your donation, they are not able to harvest your stem cells via the blood filtering procedure you will be asked to donate the traditional way. This is what more people are familiar with (several large needles into your hip / pelvis). This may take a few weeks to recover from. Of course as a donor you can decline to go through with this procedure but I canâ??t imagine anyone being that much of a pussy knowing the outcome for the recipient.

Going to the donor center and seeing people (esp the young kids) struggle every day just to do the things you and I take for granted was a very humbling experience indeed. If you are fortunate enough to be selected as a donor just do it, you wonâ??t regret it. In the grand scheme of things a couple of days (or even) weeks away from the gym is not that big of a deal.

Feel free to ask any other questions you may have.


Only been in the gym for 2 weeks :stuck_out_tongue:

And i have been donating blood now for years, how i do it is:

Blood: Wait 3 months (have to)
Platelets: Wait 1 month
Blood: Wait 3 months

And i now see why they advise against heavy lifting i was getting stars everywhere towards the end of my workout if i had been in the gym ages id say the heavy weights would have killed me.


Ya i'm completely clueless regards to this, apparently my odds on getting called up are fairly low as my blood type is AB- one of the rare ones. I don't even know where it's going not legally allowed so all i know is i have to show up to St. James's Hospital where they will walk me through it, i just wanted to see if anyone had any notion as regards to lay off.

I (maybe foolishly) thought i could go back to work next day, hope they are understanding about it but i imagine they will be.

May send you a PM when it draws nearer in regards to anything i don't understand.


Welcome to Ireland :slight_smile:

When they were on the phone, they sent an email with all the particulars just incase i got the date wrong on the phone and it also contained an attachment with a page of "Before the donation" pointers, that was one of them.


Good Jesus, several large needles into my HIP ........ i sincerely hope it doesn't come to that, though i agree with your sentiment that backing out would be un-thinkable.

And my younger sister when she was born needed one, she was one of the 1st people ever operated on in 1986 she had to go to Great Ormond St. in London as they couldn't do it in Ireland, so that's why i put myself in the list, some randomer was kind enough to help her live so if i can help then it's the least i can do.


If you are used to giving blood or platelets, then donating marrow via the blood filtering route will actuallybe less of a recovery issue. They actually take less "stuff" out of you. I forget what else besides the stem cells they take out, but the bag afterward is quite pretty to look at. It's kind of a golden color and sparkles a bit. All the red blood cells, most of the plasma, etc is returned to you.


Oh really ?

Ya i have been donating Blood/Platelets for years now, father does the same, my mother only gives blood as in Ireland once you have been pregnant your not allowed donate Platelets.


Yes, if you can to the PBSC (Peripheral blood stem cell) donation then recovery will be no worse than a regular blood donation and maybe even less severe. When I donated, I was told that the recepient's doctor determined what type of donation would be requested - either the PBSC or the traditional harvest, but at least in the States the PBSC was fast becoming the more common route. Not sure how to post a link but if this comes across it has some good info: http://www.marrow.org/DONOR/When_You_re_Asked_to_Donate_fo/index.html


Allright, thanks for that. End of thread.


Afraid I don't know anything about donating or the procedure, but I wanted to say good for you being a donor (actually wanted to say more than that, but I tend to be a bit crap with words)


When i signed up to be a marrow doner they had to do a new test and have a long conversation about all the possibilities and about spending time in hospital if its done the old fashioned way etc etc. More than likely they will do it via the blood and you will be fine the next day but if they do perform it the old school way, i was told i would be in the hospital for at least a night or two.

Were you not given any indication of what you were getting into when you signed up? I'm with the Anthony Nolan trust her in England so it may be different but i would have thought it would be almost the same.