Time Off Work for Bone Marrow Donation

Last Modified: June 11, 2009


Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

What is the typical recovery period for the donor of a bone marrow transplant? How long of a work layoff should I expect? How long before I'm back to normal everyday life?


Carolyn Vachani RN, MSN, AOCN, OncoLink's Nurse Educator, responds:

Well, first off, thanks for being a donor! The time for recovery depends on whether you are giving actual bone marrow, which would mean general anesthesia and a trip to the operating room, or just stem cells, which would require you to sit in a chair at a pheresis center while the stem cells are collected from your blood. You would require more physical recovery from the bone marrow than the stem cells, perhaps a few days of soreness from the procedure. Stem cells, on the other hand, can take a few days to collect, depending on how many are able to be collected the first day. In general, we estimate 3 to 7 days for the procedure and recovery.

Some states have laws about work leave for donation and tax deductions for lost wages and donation expenses. See The National Marrow Donor Program for more information on the laws about work leave for donation and tax credits.


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