What are the Criteria for Becoming a Bone Marrow Transplant Donor?

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  • Written By: Angela Crout-Mitchell
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 28 May 2020
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There are several requirements to becoming a bone marrow transplant donor, including meeting basic medical criteria, being free of certain diseases, and having the ability to pass specific types of medical testing. People who choose to donate bone marrow usually do so for family members or friends, as well as for compatible strangers. The patients who need this type of transplant often suffer from diseases of the blood and certain types of cancer. With a successful bone marrow transplant, the symptoms and, sometimes, the cause of their disease can be eliminated. The potential bone marrow transplant donor is provided with detailed information pertaining to the procedure and reserves the right to change his or her mind at any point in the process.

Before giving bone marrow, the potential candidate must meet basic requirements related to their overall health. It is essential that the donor is has a BMI rating of 40 or lower and must be in general good health. While the bone marrow donor cannot be too heavy, it is advised that he or she is not underweight either, as this situation can pose a risk to the donor. It is also usually recommended that the candidate be between 18 to 60 years old for optimum quality bone marrow. This set of criteria helps to determine if the loss of bone marrow would be a problem for the donor following the bone marrow donation process.

In addition to meeting the initial medical criteria, the potential bone marrow transplant donor must also be able to pass specific types of medical tests including a complete examination, chest x-rays, and blood tests. The transplant team will perform urine analysis and an electrocardiogram for more information as well. A female bone marrow transplant donor will also undergo a pregnancy test, and all donors are tested for sexually transmitted diseases and other infectious conditions. It is not uncommon for the donor to be evaluated by a psychologist as well.

The criteria for becoming a bone marrow transplant donor also include the absence of certain types of conditions and disorders. Individuals with diabetes mellitus or type II diabetes are ineligible to donate bone marrow, as are those with HIV and other autoimmune disorders. People with bleeding conditions, pulmonary disorders, and Lyme disease are excluded as well. The various rules and conditions in place to select appropriate donors are there to protect the continued good health of the donor and ensure the bone marrow recipient receives safe, healthy marrow for their recovery.

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Post 1

If a diabetic is not insulin dependent and in otherwise good health, I don't see the problem with them being able to donate bone marrow. It's not like diabetes is contagious and if the donor has a healthy A1C level, along with good numbers in other bloodwork, I can't see a problem.

But, many organizations won't accept diabetics as blood donors, either. I can understand if the person is on insulin, but my bloodwork looks like a non-diabetic's because my condition is well-controlled. I do take oral medication, but not a sulfonyurea so I don't understand the problem.

I'm not a doctor, though, so maybe I don't grasp all the subtleties involved in donating blood and bone marrow.

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