WellSpan Home

Stem Cell Donation

Topic Overview

Most healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 60 can donate stem cells from their blood. Collecting or harvesting stem cells from your bloodstream is called apheresis.

Before the donation

For 4 or 5 days before you donate, you will get shots to help your bone marrow make and send more stem cells into your bloodstream. The medicine in the shots may cause bone and muscle aches, headaches, fatigue, and difficulty sleeping. These side effects usually go away 2 or 3 days later.

During the donation

Donations are done in a blood center or hospital. A nurse will stick a needle into a vein in your arm to take your blood. Your blood is sent through a machine that takes out the stem cells and saves them. Then your blood is sent back into you through a needle in your other arm. If the veins in your arm won't work, the doctor may put a catheter in your neck or chest instead. In that case, local anesthesia is used.

The donation takes from 4 to 5 hours. You won't be able to move around during that time.

It's not unusual to feel lightheaded, have chills, feel numbness around your lips, or have cramping in your hands during the donation.

The donation may need to be repeated the next day, depending on how many stem cells are needed.

After the donation

You will be able to go home after the donation and resume your normal activities. If the donation needs to be repeated and a catheter was used, you may need to stay overnight in the hospital.

Your bone marrow will make new stem cells to replace the ones you donated.

In rare cases, temporary anemia and low platelet counts develop after a person donates stem cells by apheresis.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerBrian Leber, MDCM, FRCPC - Hematology

Current as ofMarch 28, 2018


Are you sure you would like to cancel?

All information will be lost.

Yes No ×

About the provider search

This search will provide you with WellSpan Medical Group and Northern Lancaster County (Ephrata) Medical Group primary care physicians and specialists. If we don’t have a WellSpan Medical Group physician to meet your criteria, the search will expand to include community physicians who partner with WellSpan Medical Group physicians through the WellSpan Provider Network or provide care to patients on the Medical Staffs of WellSpan’s Hospitals.

×

Schedule Your Next Appointment Online with MyWellSpan

Use your MyWellSpan patient portal any time to view available appointments, and pick the date and time that best suits your schedule.

Go to MyWellSpan

New to this practice?

If you don't have a WellSpan primary care provider and would like to schedule a new patient appointment with a provider who is accepting patients, just log into your MyWellSpan account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to see the offices that are accepting new patients in relation to your zip code. If you are not enrolled in MyWellSpan, go to https://my.wellspan.org, call 1-866-638-1842 or speak with a member of the staff at a participating facility to sign up. New patient scheduling not available at all practices/programs.

Already a patient at this practice?

If you already have a relationship with a WellSpan practice, simply log into your account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to schedule an appointment with any provider or practice that already counts you as a patient. Online scheduling varies by practice/program.

×