Hello reddit!

A year ago I donated 1.5L of bone marrow to an unrelated recipient and did an AMA where I answered questions about the whole process. You can see my previous AMA here.

It has been one year now and I thought it would be a good idea to raise awareness and answer any questions people might have.

If you are a minority of Asian descent and are interested in registering, read more about the process here.


Comments: 106 • Responses: 30  • Date: 

asperatus15 karma

I heard that it's painful. Is that true?

marrowme14 karma

There are two methods of donating bone marrow. The more common method nowadays is called PBSC and requires no surgery. You basically get attacked to a dialysis machine for a few hours.

For bone marrow extraction which I underwent there was about a week of soreness. Nothing Vicodin couldn't make better.

o0OIDaveIO0o13 karma

I can't tell whether you meant 'attached' or 'attacked'... I feel that depending on which one you meant makes a big difference to the meaning :P

marrowme5 karma

Sorry I am using Alien Blue on my iPhone to respond to some comments. Autocorrect....

HiFiWiFiSciFi3 karma

There is literally nothing that Vicodin can't make better.

marrowme3 karma

You didn't hear that from me. :)

Chiva51 karma

What determines the method being used? Do they serve the same purpose?

marrowme1 karma

Not sure. Most recipients are ok with PBSC nowadays but if their doctor requests bone marrow they will ask for that first.

Paddywhacker13 karma

Has there been negative physical effects?

marrowme19 karma

For about a month after the donation you will feel a bit tired. It's recommended not to do any strenuous physical activity for 2-3 weeks after the harvest. By the one month mark most people are at least 90-100% back to normal.

throwmeaway7638 karma

the harvest

Looks like something an alien would say.

marrowme13 karma

The only sentient creatures who would want your bone marrow for nefarious purposes would be hipsters looking for a new snack.

Kataclysm2 karma

Or shady scientists looking for a way to create "evil" stem cells so they can manufacture a new breed of superhumans!

marrowme6 karma

If that's true I would like to request first dibs on super powers.

Mistahanghigh2 karma

Tired eh? Can you give me a more detailed explanation of short-term effects. Like was it harder being at work after the procedure? How about hobbies, is it just that you feel a bit weaker for a few weeks? I am in the register too, I just havent really looked into the consequences.

marrowme4 karma

I remember feeling a bit weak for about two weeks after the procedure. If you've ever donated blood before, it kinda feels like that but it lasts longer. I run two to three times a week so I had to suspend that and slowly work my way back. After one month I was almost 100%.

You can pretty much resume all normal activities after three days. Avoid strenuous stuff for two to three weeks.

KunSeii10 karma

How long were you on the registry before you were contacted?

marrowme7 karma

Registered in 2008. Contacted in 2011.

silverstar1210 karma


marrowme20 karma

People of mixed descent have the hardest time finding matches so yes they are looking for you too!

lostin_thesound9 karma

Good for you!!! I've been on the registry for a couple of years now. Once I was contacted and had to answer a bunch of questions online but nothing ever came of it

marrowme5 karma

Thanks for registering!

JustMadeStatus7 karma

Were you paid anything for your donation?

marrowme8 karma

No. There is no compensation.

Fattswindstorm6 karma

who paid for it? your medical bills and such.

marrowme13 karma

If you are part of a donor program they cover all costs including transportation, meals, and hotel if necessary.

pua_pua_choo6 karma

Would you do it over again if given the chance? Do you get to find out who receives your donation?

marrowme28 karma

Yes I would do it again. No I do not know who received the donation. All I know is she is a 10 year old.

Floormaster845 karma

Were your prescribed any meds afterwards? Pain meds or antibiotics

marrowme4 karma

Vicodin prescribed. :)

Pat4ever2 karma


marrowme6 karma

I got one bottle. I still have it. I used maybe 4-5 pills to cover 3-4 days worth of pain. That's about it. I'm definitely not an abuser.

TaylorSPL5 karma

Thanks for reminding me about this, just registered.

marrowme3 karma

Thanks for registering!

Bmitchy12343 karma

Have you had any negative effects?

marrowme5 karma

It's one year later and I feel great! I only have two little scars on my back from where they made the incisions. After about 1 month you will feel 100%

KunSeii3 karma

When I signed up for Be The Match two years ago they sent me a letter asking for $100 to cover type testing and basically laid a guilt trip on me saying that until they received monetary donations people were going to go without matches. Two people I signed up got the same notice. None of us paid it. Were you asked to contribute for your testing? Having donated, do you feel that's a reasonable request?

marrowme1 karma

As a minority the AADP covers the registration fees. If you are Caucasian apparently it's much easier to find a match so they don't need as many people to register.

ailee431 karma

The guy i tried to donate for died before i could help him due to a series of paperwork fuckups :( Im still bothered by that.

They lost my paperwork 3 times, after i was matched and deemed viable. In the 4 months that it took to fix that, the guy became too sick to benefit from a transplant and passed shortly thereafter.

marrowme3 karma

I'm really sorry about this. I think this is why they keep both parties anonymous.

anomalouskeklol1 karma

But...but the pictures on the website... I'm registered and if I'm a match, I better be offered the chance to meet the person I'm helping. Seems like a life changing opportunity for both parties.

marrowme2 karma

If both donor and recipient are in the United States there is a chance to meet a year later. If the recipient or donor is international there is usually no chance to meet.

deathraygun1 karma

I would really like to donate, but I almost pass out when I give blood or get blood taken at the doctors...or sometimes even see blood for that matter. Sitting hooked up to a machine for hours would probably put me over the edge. Do you know if there are are options to be knocked out* for the process?

Edit: *for the PBSC option, obviously you would be knocked out for the surgery.

marrowme2 karma

I doubt they would knock you out for the PBSC option. My guess is it would only hurt a little when they set everything up then after that surf reddit until its over.

EnigmaxxLife1 karma

This is probably gonna sound really silly but I'm interested in donating and I just want to know does the bone marrow replenish?

Like how our blood replenishes itself does the bone marrow do that as well or do we say goodbye to whatever gets taken out for good?

marrowme3 karma

Yes your bone marrow replenishes itself completely within a month or two. I feel completely normal now.

Creative-Overloaded1 karma

If I was to register do I have to pay, is it free, or does someone pay me?

marrowme3 karma

It depends but for some people it might cost a little bit of money. If you are a minority and they need you to register it's usually free.

SomewhatAngryMan1 karma

Do you get better medical care in any way if you're a donor?

marrowme3 karma

They take really good care of you at the hospital if they know you are a donor. You're like a hero for a day.

nassetti0 karma

I'm really sorry if this has already been asked but why woul you go through this procedure?

DeutscheMkII-1 karma

why do u have to be chinese to do this

marrowme3 karma

You don't. You can be anybody. It's just that minorities in general have a harder time finding bone marrow matches because there are not enough minorities in the registry.

DeutscheMkII-2 karma

u can buy marrow in china 1500 USD per kilogram

marrowme6 karma

It's probably a knockoff.

GibeMeDat-6 karma

I'm interested in donating bone marrow but not of Asian descent and I want to ensure it only goes to decent white folk - do you have any advice?

marrowme8 karma

Yes, don't register your bone marrow.

cobaltcollapse-20 karma

AMA on your cakeday, you've obviously thought this one out

marrowme12 karma

Too bad this isn't my main reddit account but a throwaway!