How Donations Work

Adult Stem Cell Donation

Your stem cell donation will provide a potentially life saving treatment to a patient in need

PBSC Donation

The process of extracting peripheral blood stem cells (PBSCs) is called apheresis. Apheresis is similar to plasma donation and is an easier, less complex procedure than bone marrow donation. It takes about 3-4 hours.

During apheresis, some of your blood is drawn and passed through a sophisticated cell-separating machine. The machine collects the PBSCs and safely returns the remaining blood components back to you.

Apheresis is a safe procedure with a few possible side effects. You may have discomfort at the needle site and occasional light-headedness during treatment. A nurse will check on you regularly during treatment and a physician will be onsite.


When considering a PBSC transplant, it is imperative that the donor and patient have properly matching HLA types to complete a successful transplant. Without a proper match, the patient's immune system will reject the transplant. 

The individual nature of HLA types is why donors only have a 1/40 chance of matching with a patient. Usually, the closest match to a patient's HLA type will give them the best chance for a successful treatment.

Recovery & Follow Up

Most donors are able to return to work, school, and other activities within 1 to 7 days after donation. Risks involved with donation mostly include lethargy and lack of energy. Approximately 1 percent of donors experience lethargy for up to a month. 

Some donors experience mild soreness or achy feelings, similar to the flu, when they receive filgrastim. However, since filgrastim began to be used in the 1990's, no donors have experienced serious side effects from its use.

About a week after donation, your stem cells will have regenerated.

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