Frequently Asked Questions

Do I get paid to be a donor?

No. The only “payment” received is the feeling of offering another person a second chance at life.

Who can donate?

Anyone between the ages of 18 – 44 years old and in general good health.  Some of the automatic disqualifiers would include insulin-dependent Diabetes, Hepatitis-C, most cancers and AIDS/HIV.

How much does it cost to register?

Officers Give Hope covers the costs associated with sampling and testing a recruited donor’s buccal swab. Once a match is made, all medical costs for the donation procedure are covered by the patient or the patient’s medical insurance, as are travel expenses and some other non-medical costs. The cost for time taken off from work may be covered by the donor’s use of sick leave.

How are patients matched with donors?

Proteins called antigens are found on the surface of the white blood cells and other body tissue. Particular antigens, named HLA-A, B, and C are essential to the success of stem cell transplants. These antigens are used to “match” a patient with a donor. When looking for a match, it’s important to remember that people of the same race and ethnic groups are more likely to match each other. The first place physicians look for a match is within the patient’s immediate family. Regardless of race or ethnicity, each person has a unique tissue type inherited from his or her parents, which is why the chances of finding a match are best among family members. The chances of two siblings matching each other are one in four. If no related donor can be found, the search for an unrelated donor begins. To help match patients and unrelated donors, Be The Match maintains a computerized Registry that records the tissue type of individuals who have agreed to donate stem cells. The computer crosschecks its records to see if there is a match for the patient. The Registry currently contains more than five million potential donors.

What is the stem cell donation process?

When you donate marrow, it is removed with a surgical needle from the back of your pelvic bone. All marrow donors are given general anesthesia. The procedure lasts between 45 and 90 minutes. Marrow is constantly regenerating itself and is replaced within several weeks. For a donation of peripheral blood stem cells (PBSC), the donor receives injections of drugs each day for four to five days. The drugs increase the number of stem cells released from the bone marrow into the blood stream. The stem cells are collected from the blood stream through a process called apheresis. During apheresis, which is done at a blood center or hospital, your blood is removed through a sterile needle placed in a vein in one arm and returned through a sterile needle placed in a vein in the other arm.

Does donation hurt?

Following the procedure, donors can expect to feel some soreness in the lower back for a few days or longer depending on an individual’s tolerance. Some donors have also reported feeling fatigued. PBSC – you may experience muscle pain, nausea, insomnia and fatigue while receiving the injections of medication. Muscle pain and headaches have been the most frequently reported symptoms. These symptoms disappear promptly after the collection is completed. During the apheresis procedure, some donors experience a tingling feeling from the anticoagulant used to keep the cells from clotting.

Most donors return to work the next day and return to their full routines in a few weeks.

What happens after one donates?

The patient and donor remain anonymous to each other. After one year, depending on the transplant center and if both parties agree, they may choose to meet.

Where is the donation done?

Be The Match works with more than 100 medical centers nationwide. Usually, a donor doesn’t have to go far from home for the procedure. The donated cells are then delivered to the patient in need.

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Contact Information

Officers Give Hope
1010 N. Batavia, Suite E #246
Orange, CA 92867