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Thread: Age Restrictions for Bone Marrow Donation in Australia

  1. #1

    Default Age Restrictions for Bone Marrow Donation in Australia

    Hi,

    (I posted this post in the general forum, but thought it might be worth posting it here too.)

    The recent donation by a young Canadian man of part of his liver to save the life of a complete stranger (a baby with biliary atresia) inspired me to look into something that I had long intended to do. I have wanted to be a bone marrow donor, but since 1992 have been either pregnant, breastfeeding, or on medication for much of that time.

    I thought I should post here that I received an email from the Australian Bone Marrow Donor Registry today. They thanked me for my interest, but pointed out that research has found that the most beneficial outcome for a recipient is a donation from a young donor. They changed their age limit 18 months ago to donors between the ages of 18 and 40.

    I'm disappointed that I have left my run too late. Had I known about the importance of the age of the donor, I would have found a way to donate much earlier.

    I thought that I'd mention it here in case anybody has a similar desire to donate bone marrow, and needs to consider the age restriction factor. (Perhaps, for example, someone who is close to turning 40?)

    Different countries might of course have different age criteria.



    Cheers,

    Lynne
    www.biliaryatresiababy.blogspot.com

  2. #2

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    Lynne,
    Firstly, your DD Rose's website is wonderful , she is beautiful and the photos are amazing.Her story was told in pictures and words so loving.I was in tears reading the journey and also felt your love and joy as well as sadness along the way. What a tribute to a courageous little girl - she is a truly gorgeous and so brave.

    At 39 this year, I was called upon to be a bone marrow donor but unfortunately ( well fortunately for me) I was pregnant and was unable to do so at that time.They told me they would take me off the list until I finished breastfeeding or year after birth anyway.They didn't tell me any details though. I have been on the list for several years but only notified the once.

    I agree anyone who makes the decison to donate organs, bone marrow,stem cells or even blood is doing a wonderful thing.Thank you for bringing it to our attention.It is close to my heart after my father had a stem cell transplant - (like a bone marrow) one of his 6 siblings was a close match.

  3. #3

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    Lynne, thanks for that. I had no idea about an age cut off but it has been years since I registered. It was in 1990 or '91 and I was in my early 20s. I have never been contacted as a potential match for anyone in that time.

    I often wonder what a difference it would make to the world if everyone who was able to be on the register took the opportunity. Although bone marrow donation is not a simple procedure, it can be the only hope for some who have not been lucky enough to find donors within the immediate family.

    I agree with Trish ... your daughter's story is amazing. I hope she continues to go from strength to strength. And on a more personal note, I love her name. It's always been my preferred choice for a little girl.

  4. #4

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    I wish there was more funding in place to advertise for people to donate more than being just a blood or organ donor. I wanted to donate Maddy's cord blood but they only collect 1 DAY a week (Tuesday) and I had Maddy on a Saturday afternoon. Apparently I couldn't donate it as a result. So sad, because I wanted it to be available to help other sick children.

    I'd like to donate blood soon; not to mention would be interested in knowing more about Bone Marrow donation (ie. procedure, pain levels? I know...I'm a woose) but until I finish breast-feeding I'm unable to do anything.

  5. #5

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    Beck the procedure may be different now but years ago when I registered, the blood bank gave my details to the Australian Bone Marrow Donor Registry and they kept it on file. This was done at a regular blood donation.

    Also not sure if there have been any updates to this, but I hope someone will correct me if so. My understanding is that the bone marrow donor is put under general anaesthetic to remove the marrow. They generally take it from the hip bone so you will need to be under as the procedure would be too much if awake. You will feel a bit sore for a few days but up and about very soon. Your body will quickly manufacture more marrow to replace the amount you have donated.

    The recipient in the meantime has had a massive dose of radiation to kill off their own diseased bone marrow. They are then essentially without immunity so are kept in isolation while waiting for the donation. Your harvested bone marrow is then delivered to them via a line in the arm (for want of a better description). Apparently, the marrow is able to find its way to the bones and set up shop so the patient can start from scratch with new disease free bone marrow.

    Hopefully the patient's body will not reject the marrow and they will go on to a full recovery, basically free of the fear that the leukaemia will return because with the new marrow, relapse is not an issue anymore.

    Anyway, if you are thinking about it, have a chat to the people at the blood bank when you go. They should be able to give you some information.

  6. #6

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    Sorry I haven't checked here in a while. What a surprise to log on and see so many compassionate and informative replies! Thankyou so much, and I've learned new things too.

    Best regards to all of you: Trish with your gorgeous TWINS, Melbo with your IVF wonderbaby (how fantastic!), and Becka with your sweet girl Madeline.

    Everyone has such interesting stories, don't they?

    Lynne

  7. #7

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    Lynne, I think I replied to another post about Bone Marrow Donation. I didnt' know there was an age restriction and I'm not sure if I was put back on the registry after donating.

    Becka, you asked about the pain, procedure etc? I dontated over 10 years ago to a baby in Perth who unfortunately died. The procedure was done at the Alfred Melbourne and you get an excellent health check up. They take some blood for tests and I had an ECG as there was a slight rhythem problem with my heart which I didn't kwow about, but it was fine. I was in for a couple of days and they took the marrow from my hip, about 375mls for a baby. It hurt but I was walking around in no time. The pain wasn't too bad really and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

    Thanks Lynne for raising the awareness on BB.

  8. #8

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    Gemma, yes I remember you replying to me about this (or was it about organ donation?) And you inspired me! If only I'd been onto it before I hit 40 though! At least I can get back to blood donation after my little Mia weans (which at nearly 13 months she's showing no inclination of whatsoever!)

    It's great to hear your description of how bone marrow donation works, and also to hear of the side bonus for donors of having a great health checkup. I remember that a thorough health check was reassuring for me a couple of years ago when I was being considered as a liver donor for my daughter.

    It's wonderful that you donated to the little baby in Perth, despite the tragic outcome. I bet it meant so very much to the family that you cared enough to do this for a stranger.

    There are many very kind people in the world. I've been reading of a 20 year old Canadian man, Mike B, who recently donated part of his liver to a baby he had never met, saving her life!

    It's a great story, particularly when you know that when the media campaign for the little girl went out, to publicize her need for a liver transplant, about 800 people responded! I'd love to think that such generosity exists in Australia, and your example is evidence that it probably does, Gemma.

    Very best wishes to you

    Lynne
    Last edited by Shannon; October 30th, 2006 at 01:32 PM. Reason: removed link

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