After a recent conversation with a friend about donating bone marrow, I quickly realized we both knew very little about the topic. We both knew that marrow was an essential component of our bodies, but didn’t really know why.

I was eager to learn more so I could better understand what exactly went into donating marrow and how I could help educate others on the topic. By utilizing and other resources online, I compiled the following 5 facts about donating bone marrow.

But first, what is bone marrow?

Bone marrow is the flexible tissue inside bones that is the key to maintaining your immune system. It’s responsible for producing all three types of blood cells, as well as lymphocytes. Your healthy marrow can cure blood cancers like leukemia and diseases like sickle cell. A marrow transplant reboots a patient’s entire immune system with new stem cells.

1. How do they extract marrow?

There are two ways a doctor will extract marrow. The most common way is through a Peripheral Blood Stem Cell (PBSC) donation. A special machine draws blood from one arm, taking only the cells it needs, then returning the remaining blood back to your body through your other arm. For some, the doctor will need to extract the marrow from the back of their pelvic bone, which will be done under anesthesia so there will be no pain during the procedure.

2. Is donating bone marrow painful?

You will be happy to know that whatever you may have seen in movies or TV has been a bit exaggerated when it comes to marrow donation. Side effects vary from person to person and usually only last a few days or weeks. This can include back pain, headache, fatigue or bruising. Nothing too serious that would affect most day-to-day activities.

PBSC donors may experience headaches or body aches several days before collection, but these disappear shortly after donation.

This is one of the particular things I was completely ignorant about. I was always under the impression it was a horribly painful process, but happy to learn it is the complete opposite. Certainly worth the minor side effects for a chance to save a life.

3. Guys are ideal marrow donors

This is not to say women shouldn’t donate marrow, but men typically have more body mass, which results in more marrow available. Additionally, the younger the person, the healthier the bone marrow is. This gives patients a better chance of matching up with a donor.

4. But don’t I need my marrow?

Of course you do. However, unlike the patient that is in need of your donation, your body will replace the marrow that you gave.

5. YOU can sign up online right now

One of the reasons I’m excited to be partnering with Be The Match is how easy they make the sign up process. You can join the registry today in just 10 minutes by visiting

Hear from 3 actual donors below:

Are you ready to save a life? Visit and join the registry today!

This post is sponsored by Be The Match. All opinions are my own.