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Old 09.10.2013, 00:49
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Register to be a blood stem cell donor - by post

I was recently made aware of the fact that it is now possible to register as a blood stem cell donor by simply swabbing your mouth at home and sending off your swabs to be analysed and added to the register. Having seen first hand how desperately difficult it is to find a donor and how many people say "I would but I don't want to go to have tests", I think this is absolutely brilliant and sent off for a kit. Since I have an autoimmune illness, I asked a doctor friend if that should pose an issue (I am otherwise very healthy and terribly boring), he said no, so I shall send my kit in but will include a note so that they can decide if they want to spend money on testing me or not.

Even though the website of the Swiss Blood Stem Cell organisation is no longer available in English, it's pretty straightforward to figure out what goes where)

There are certain exclusion criteria:
Quote:
With a donation of bone marrow and peripheral blood stem cells, certain suitability criteria must be met. These serve to protect the patient as well as the donor. The most important exclusion criteria are:
  • body weight under 50 Kilograms
  • infectious hepatitis (hepatitis B, C)
  • positive test for HIV (AIDS)
  • positive test for Syphilis
  • heart attack, angina pectoris
  • heart operation
  • transplantation of foreign tissue
  • certain blood clotting disorders
  • intake of certain medications: e.g., heart medication (digitalis, nitroglycerine), cancer drugs (chemotherapeutic substances)
  • blood transfusion since 1980
  • cancer
  • sexual contact for profit since 1977
  • sexual contact between men since 1977
Now that very last point often leads to debate and while I disagree with this discrimination, this thread is not about that, if you want to discuss that issue, I suggest you start your own thread on prejudices about the sexual health of homosexual men.


What this thread IS about is the opportunity to help save someone's life by investing very little. I do hope I will be eligible to register as I've sadly seen a child die because no donor could be found, back in the days before Facebook and "mass-forwarding emails"; it would be a privilege to contribute to saving a life if the opportunity arose. Not just for that person but also for the happiness of all the people who care about them.

Last edited by Kittster; 01.10.2021 at 22:35. Reason: Updated link that was no longer functioning
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Old 09.10.2013, 00:55
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Re: Register to be a blood stem cell donor - by post

That's great. I'm in!
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Old 09.10.2013, 01:11
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Re: Register to be a blood stem cell donor - by post

Having lived in the UK isn't an exclusion criteria? It is for the blood donors here.
And having had a donation? (I even had a donation in the UK)
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Old 09.10.2013, 01:13
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Re: Register to be a blood stem cell donor - by post

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Having lived in the UK isn't an exclusion criteria? It is for the blood donors here.
And having had a donation? (I even had a donation in the UK)
The list answers your second question.
ETA: Regarding the UK issue, for blood donation they specify (or used to specify) that you must not have spent more than a total of 6 months in the UK between 1980 and 1996 - so I too am not eligible. For the blood stem cells they don't mention this, they merely say that there must be no reason to believe that you could have Creutzfeldt-Jakob's (the human equivalent of mad cow disease - although I reckon we'd all be a bit mad if we had a bell clanging in our ears all day long, but that's a different matter entirely).

Last edited by Kittster; 09.10.2013 at 01:38. Reason: Extra info
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Old 09.10.2013, 01:20
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Re: Register to be a blood stem cell donor - by post

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The list answers your second question.
Note to self. Learn to read.
Once your life is saved it's difficult to return the favour. Financial donation it is then.
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Old 09.10.2013, 01:26
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Re: Register to be a blood stem cell donor - by post

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Note to self. Learn to read.
Once your life is saved it's difficult to return the favour. Financial donation it is then.
Awesome. I'm flat broke so I'm a) registering myself and b) telling everyone about it so this becomes common knowledge.

Glad you had that second chance given to you, it's amazing what a simple, small act by a stranger can do for someone else. One of my best friends was saved by a blood transfusion too, so the need for blood and other donors is very very real to me.
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Old 09.10.2013, 10:53
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Re: Register to be a blood stem cell donor - by post

It may be worth mentioning that the donation process is not limited to donating bone marrow anymore. There is also the option of donating blood, see here for details:
http://www.sbsc.ch/en/in-case-you-do...ion-procedure/
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Old 09.10.2013, 10:56
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Re: Register to be a blood stem cell donor - by post

I just wanted to add that, should you need to actually donate the stem cells, it no longer requires a direct bone marrow sample (which was relatively painful). Now, after a drug course to stimulate the production and release of stem cells, they hook you up to a dialysis-like machine that can collect the stem cells from your blood. It takes several hours, but is no more painful than having blood drawn!

There's really no reason to not be on the registry, if you're a suitable donor, even for the squeamish among us.
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Old 09.10.2013, 11:08
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Re: Register to be a blood stem cell donor - by post

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Old 09.10.2013, 11:10
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Re: Register to be a blood stem cell donor - by post

Thanks for this. Just registered myself as well and will "spread the word".
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Old 09.10.2013, 11:14
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Re: Register to be a blood stem cell donor - by post

I also registered recently and it really is deadeasy!
Chances that you are ever called to donate any blood stem cells or bone marrow is very small but if it would ever be needed, I would be more than happy to donate.

And while we are on the subject of saving lives, you also may want to consider applying for a Spendekarte. If you have one and you tick the right boxes, it means that in case you die you are willing to donate (part of) your organs. After the moving story of Frank Zappa some time ago here on EF, I immediately applied for one and have it now in my wallet at all times! http://www.swisstransplant.org/l4/order-card.php
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Old 09.10.2013, 11:19
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Re: Register to be a blood stem cell donor - by post

And you have to be between 18 and 55 to register online.....
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Old 09.10.2013, 12:05
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Re: Register to be a blood stem cell donor - by post

I've just registered
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Old 09.10.2013, 12:21
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Re: Register to be a blood stem cell donor - by post

I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to all of you who have registered to be a stem cell donor. As a cancer-sufferer, I may need a stem-cell transplant in the future, and its thanks to selfless people like yourselves that my hopes of getting a match are greater.

I love life too much to want to leave it before I need to!
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Old 09.10.2013, 19:56
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Re: Register to be a blood stem cell donor - by post

I hope you can beat the cancer, Marsalforn! Like you said, often a blood stem cell donation is needed and the more people register, the better your chances.
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Old 10.10.2013, 12:56
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Re: Register to be a blood stem cell donor - by post

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sexual contact for profit since 1977
Does marrying for money count? (just kiddin'! )



I'm not good with pain, so I doubt I'd be willing to do a marrow donation. But what is blood stem cell donation?

I'm O- so I give blood when I can. Would this be helpful in the case of blood stem cells? Or is this more like it has to be an exact match?

Registering is something that is interesting me. I think I just need to know more about the processes. If it's painful.... I'm a wimp.
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Old 10.10.2013, 13:04
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Re: Register to be a blood stem cell donor - by post

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Does marrying for money count? (just kiddin'! )



I'm not good with pain, so I doubt I'd be willing to do a marrow donation. But what is blood stem cell donation?

I'm O- so I give blood when I can. Would this be helpful in the case of blood stem cells? Or is this more like it has to be an exact match?

Registering is something that is interesting me. I think I just need to know more about the processes. If it's painful.... I'm a wimp.
The bone marrow transplant used to be the way stem cells were transferred. Now, its a course of drugs (5 days, I think) plus getting hooked up to a dialysis like machine (which separates the stem cells from the rest), as described above. They don't need your marrow anymore, which was the painful part. So if you can handle having blood drawn, that's as much pain as you need to handle.

As for blood type, you wouldn't be a universal donor for stem cells, as the matching process is far more extensive.
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Old 10.10.2013, 13:07
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Re: Register to be a blood stem cell donor - by post

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The website of the Swiss Blood Stem Cell organisation is also available in English so no excuses there

There are certain exclusion criteria:
Quote:

With a donation of bone marrow and peripheral blood stem cells, certain suitability criteria must be met. These serve to protect the patient as well as the donor. The most important exclusion criteria are:
  • blood transfusion since 1980
Well that one alone rules me out. I wonder if they also apply the blanket 'lived in the UK at the time of the mad cow hysteria' which stops me donating blood in the normal way?
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Old 10.10.2013, 13:11
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Re: Register to be a blood stem cell donor - by post

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Well that one alone rules me out. I wonder if they also apply the blanket 'lived in the UK at the time of the mad cow hysteria' which stops me donating blood in the normal way?
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Regarding the UK issue, for blood donation they specify (or used to specify) that you must not have spent more than a total of 6 months in the UK between 1980 and 1996 - so I too am not eligible. For the blood stem cells they don't mention this, they merely say that there must be no reason to believe that you could have Creutzfeldt-Jakob's (the human equivalent of mad cow disease
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Old 10.10.2013, 13:18
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Re: Register to be a blood stem cell donor - by post

Ok. I registered....

If I'm a match one of you must come with me to hold my hand!
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