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Bone marrow transplants sometimes are the only life saving interventions for people with certain conditions like blood cancer, blood disorders, and some genetic diseases.

An up close view of bone marrow
An up close view of bone marrow

Due to the latest advancements in technology the donor doesn’t have to undergo any surgery for this! Here goes the TO DO list. It is absolutely safe and maximum it will take 10 days to recover.

  1. The donor express commitment to donate bone marrow whenever and where ever the call comes from.
  2. Blood is tested for HIV/Hepatitis/Syphilis/Malaria.
  3. If clear then the blood or buccal swat (from the inside of your cheek) is sent for HLA (Human Leucocyte Antigens) typing.
  4. Search request for the bone marrow donor comes from transplant physician.
  5. A search is initiated for HLA match in the registries.
  6. Five days before the donation the donor is required to take an injection which will mobilise the bone marrow from the stem cells to the blood.
  7. Tests are done periodically to see if the necessary stem cells are present in the blood.
  8. Once the donor is ready, he donates the blood which is sent through an apheresis machine which seperates the stem cells and sends the blood back to the donor through the other hand.

Side Effects?

According to the National Marrow Donor Program donors may experience side effects including headache or bone pain and muscle aches, similar to a cold or the flu, for several days before collection. These are side effects of the filgrastim injections that disappear shortly after donation. Other common side effects are nausea, trouble sleeping and tiredness. Less than one percent of donors have an allergic reaction to filgrastim, which may include skin rashes or shortness of breath.

What is Bone Marrow?

Bone marrow is the soft, jelly-like tissue that is found in the hollow centre  of all large bones. Bone marrow contains stem cells which are essential for  blood production.

Cord Blood & Stem Cells?

Cord blood is the blood left over in the umbilical cord and placenta after the birth of a baby. This blood has been found to be an extremely rich source of stem cells. These stem cells can now be used as an alternative to embryonic, bone marrow and other stem cell types. There are no ethical controversies surrounding stem cells derived from the umbilical cord as the umbilical cord and placenta are usually discarded after birth.

Your baby’s cord blood is a valuable source of stem cells that could be used to treat many life-threatening diseases and medical conditions. The value and benefits of umbilical cord blood stem cells are great as stem cells have saved many lives so far, and medical researchers are exploring new uses for umbilical cord blood stem cells in treating diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

For more info:

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Sri Lanka’s International Eye Bank (Sri Lanka Eye Donation Society) is one of the world’s biggest, human eyes donor, restoring vision to people in as many as 57 countries, including Japan, Thailand, Egypt and China. [Read More].

According to the Manager of the International Eye Bank, there is a huge potential to collect donor eyes in this country, over 10 times what could be used here, owing to a worldwide shortage of donor eyes. The Buddhist supreme concept of “daana“, or almsgiving, was the root of their success. They believe that it is an act of great merit to gift their eyes after death to someone living who would have the gift of sight. Over 870,000 people have signed consent forms asking us to take their eyes after they are dead, he explained.

Those who wish to donate their precious eyes after the death, can register with the Bank by visiting personally to the below address or by sending them a letter requesting for the consent forms.

Sri Lanka Eye Donation Society,
Wijerama Mawatha,
Colombo 07,
Sri Lanka.
Tel. +94 11 2698040

A senior consultant of the Bank, explained that corneal graft surgery today involves taking the whole eye ball, not just the cornea, as was done in earlier years. “Even if an eye is not suitable, we take it because it satisfies the families of the donors“, he said. “It is not wasted. It can always be used for research.”

An eye must be removed from the body within 24 hours of death, packed in ice and received at the laboratory within 4 hours. There are three types of preservation fluids that allow a cornea to be preserved for 5, 14, and 21 days, respectively, at a temperature of 4 degrees. The 21-day fluid is the most expensive one, he further explained.

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