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The Barriers to Bone Marrow Donation

A summary of the different barriers to Bone Marrow Donation, taking into account all the great inspirations people have added so far.

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The emotional – but very real fear – of needles, surgery, and medical procedures can be a huge barrier to donation.


There are many myths about the bone marrow donation process. For example, many people assume that the only way to donate bone marrow is via inpatient surgery. We like to address this misconception via the 80/20 rule because, in fact, 80% of the time donation is done through peripheral blood stem cells (PBSC) donation and only 10 to 20% of the time is inpatient surgery necessary.


You will likely be asked to donate to $100 in the US (this differs according to country) in order to cover the cost of tissue typing. While this is not necessary, it is often considered a barrier in the donation process.


The total amount of time required by the bone marrow donation experience varies depending on certain factors, but generally donating requires a very real commitment of time.

**Feeling Rushed**

Cheek swab drives, like other kinds of spontaneous donor requests (such as street fundraisers) often don’t give people the time to weigh their decision and think it through. People react negatively purely to this sensation of being rushed.

**Cultural Beliefs**

Different cultures have different perceptions – emotionally, spiritually, and physically – around donation, whether it be blood, organs, or bone marrow for instance.


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One thing that I don't see mentioned in the UCSF website or as a 'barrier to donating' is the amount of scaring left behind after this major operation.

I know that pain, frustrations, fears and 'inconveniences' pass with time but the scars will remain forever. And according to the UCSF website there are IV's, a 'huge bandage covering the site' and constant checking for infections

And, if you get a butcher of a surgeon that has no reguard for the amount of scaring they may be creating, then it could be worse then just some puncture marks

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