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What Are the Risks of Donating Stem Cells for Transplant?


Updated June 19, 2014

Question: What Are the Risks of Donating Stem Cells for Transplant?

First, it may be helpful to read: How are stem cells collected for transplant?

In the days before to stem cell collection, the injections that are given to stimulate the release of stem cells in the blood may cause body aches, headache and tiredness. These side effects usually go away within a few days of the last dose of the injection.

The donation of peripheral blood stem cells (PBSCs) is a relatively safe procedure with little discomfort. During the process (called apheresis) the donor may feel a bit light-headed. He or she may also have chills, cramps in the hands and a feeling of numbness around the lips. This is also temporary and does not persist beyond a few hours of the collection procedure.

There are no known long term side effects of donating stem cells, but because the process has only existed for about 10 years, it is too early to say for sure.


Clinical Bone Marrow and Blood Stem Cell Transplantation. Author: Kerry Atkinson and colleagues. Published by Cambridge University Press, 2003.

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