Overview of Collection Process

Stem cells are collected from circulating blood and is similar to the way platelets are collected every day. The donor's blood is drawn from one arm and passes through a machine which separates out the needed stem cells, returning the rest of the blood back into the donor's other arm.

Because blood-forming stem cells are found in the bone marrow, not in the circulating blood, donors must take small injections just under the skin of a synthetic version of a naturally occurring protein to stimulate the cells to grow in numbers so that they flow from the marrow into the bloodstream in sufficient quantities for collection.

Before You Arrive

What to eat and drink

The morning of your collection we ask that you have a balanced breakfast at the hotel before arriving at the collection center. Be sure to stay well hydrated the day before and morning of donation. Try to use the restroom before you arrive. You will be reminded to do so again just before your collection begins.

What to wear on your day of donation

Be sure to wear comfortable, lose fitting clothing. You will be given a soft blanket to keep you warm, if needed.

What to bring or not bring with you

Feel free to bring a book or a tablet. While one arm has more freedom of mobility, your other arm will be limited. Try to avoid bringing jewelry and other valuables with you.

Young children are not allowed in the collection center.

If you have any questions, please speak to your concierge. Under ADA regulations, leashed or harnessed service dogs may be allowed in the collection center. Emotional support animals are not permitted.

Your Donation

Preparation for Donating

On arriving at the collection center, your day of donation coordinator will introduce you to the medical staff and review the procedure with you.

Your fifth and last filgrastim injection will be given at the collection center before you begin your donation.

The medical staff will help you get settled in your donor lounge and connected to the apheresis machine.

During Your Donation

Your donor concierge will be available to ensure you have everything you need to ensure your comfort and entertainment. Expect a few surprise treats as the collection proceeds!

Snacks and lunch will be served for both you and your companion.

We offer each donor the opportunity to have photographs taken during donation. This is a big moment and we know you’d like to remember it. For donors who are open to it, our staff writer would love to interview you about your experience. We may invite some donors to participate in short video interviews. The decision to participate is entirely up to each donor and we respect your privacy if you decide not to participate!

How Long Does the Donation Take?

Every patient needs a specific amount of stem cells, determined by their transplant physician. Doctors base these amounts on the patient’s condition and physical size, so the amount requested for a child will be smaller than for an adult male.

Collection usually takes between four and six hours. Rarely, a donor may be asked to donate a second day to ensure that we collect the full amount of cells needed for the patient.

If You Need a Central Line

Approximately seven percent of donors do not have veins that are adequate to use for a stem cell collection. In those cases, donors are asked to have a temporary catheter placed in a large vein for the collection. It is removed immediately after the collection is done.

This procedure is done just 10 minutes away at Boca Raton Regional Hospital / Baptist Health South Florida (a top ranked regional hospital in the U.S. News & World Report’s 2018–2019 annual review of its Best Hospitals). The collection via center line is performed by Gift of Life – Be The Match apheresis specialists at the hospital.

After Donating

After donating, our car service will take you and your companion back to your hotel.

Every donor is different, but you will likely feel tired after donating, which is perfectly normal. Gift of Life recommends that you enjoy a well-balanced meal and get some rest.

IMPORTANT: Please follow your discharge instructions carefully concerning what you can and cannot do post-collection, what to take if you feel discomfort and when to contact the on-call medical staff.