Become a donor

How stem cell donations work

About stem cell donation

After your registration, your tissue characteristics will be available for searches for patients from around the world. If you are the matching donor for a patient, SCRI will contact you.

Peripheral stem cell collection

Nowadays 80% of donations are done by collecting stem cells from your blood. The donation takes about 4 hours.

Bone marrow collection

In 20% of cases stem cells are collected from your pelvic bone (not spine) under general anesthesia. It will hurt for a few days, like a bruise.


We will send you a message, indicating that your tissue characteristics match those of a patient. We will also inform you about the next steps in detail. The below overview will give you an idea of what you can generally expect in terms of stem cell donation.


You will receive a detailed health questionnaire so that any exclusion criteria for a donation can be detected early. This is followed by a confirmatory typing (CT), in which the tissue characteristics are analyzed again using an additional blood sample. Furthermore, your blood is tested for specific infectious agents, such as HIV or hepatitis viruses. Using these results, a decision will be made as to whether you are a 100% match for the patient. Thereafter, SCRI medical service team member will contact you and be available for any questions you may have regarding the stem cell donation.


Various factors, including the status of the patient’s health, determine whether you will ultimately be chosen as a donor after the preliminary examinations mentioned above. If you are indeed chosen as a donor, you should make a final decision as to whether you wish to be available to the patient. After a final health examination and explanation by a doctor, you will be asked to sign a declaration of consent for the donation. The decision as to which of the two procedures will be used to collect stem cells from the donor will depend on the needs of the patient. Whenever possible, the preferences of the donor are taken into account. For both procedures, the costs incurred will be covered and any loss of earnings sustained by the donor will be reimbursed. Approximately one week before the transplantation appointment, the patient will begin the preparation phase. The patient’s diseased bone marrow is destroyed by chemotherapy, and in some cases by radiation therapy. At this point in time, the patient cannot survive without the subsequent transfer of the donor’s healthy stem cells.

We are happy to help you if you have any questions about stem cell donation.

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How it works?

Over a period of five days, the donor will be administered growth factor G-CSF. This medication increases the number of stem cells in the peripheral blood, and these are then collected directly from the blood using a special procedure. The collection from the bloodstream lasts approximately four to eight hours over one or two consecutive days. This procedure has been performed since 1996. When the medication is administered, you may experience flu-like symptoms. There are no known long-term side effects according to the current state of research.


Two small incisions in the area of the rear pelvic bone are usually sufficient. The collection takes place with the donor laying on his or her stomach and lasts approximately 60 minutes. When a bone marrow donation is made, the risk is mainly limited to complications from general anesthesia. For a few days after the collection, you may experience a local wound pain similar to a bruise.

The donor will be in the hospital for two or three days for the bone marrow collection and should then rest at home for a few days in order to recover. Please consult with staff at the hospital carrying out the collection procedure.