Some misconceptions persist about bone marrow and its donation.
It is important to overcome these misconceptions in order to become a volunteer donor, and to inform properly the people around us.
- 72% of French people* think bone marrow is located in the spinal cord. So is it dangerous to donate bone marrow ?
Bone marrow should not be confused with the spinal cord.
The bone marrow that provide the blood cells essential to life, is found in the centre of all the bones, whereas the spinal cord forming part of the nervous system is located in the spinal column.
Bone marrow is not collected from the spinal column, but from the back of the pelvic bone, which is very rich in bone marrow. There is therefore no risk of being paralysed after donating bone marrow
- 74% of French people believe that it is easy to find a compatible donor and recipient*. So why register with the national registry ?
In reality, the probability of finding two compatible unrelated individuals is 1 in 1,000,0000 as average.
The compatibility needed for a bone marrow transplant is based on a complex system that is quite different from the blood group system.
Each new registration brings a new chance of a cure for those in need of a transplant.
Since compatibility is very rare and random, it is impossible for the donor to choose the patient who will benefit from his/her donation. By registering with the national registry, donors agree to be contacted in case of need and to give a small amount of their bone marrow cells for patients they will never know and who lives anywhere in the world.
* Study conducted by LH2 for the « Agence de la biomédecine » in July 2007.