You probably think of your skeleton, flesh and muscles as the only essential parts of your body, and you’re mostly right. However, within your bones lies another essential component—marrow.
This flexible tissue inside bones is key to maintaining your immune system, as it is responsible for producing all of your blood cells—the type that transports oxygen, and the type that fights off infections (white blood cells). When the bone marrow fails, it can be a life-saving requirement for a bone marrow donation. Here are seven facts about bone marrow donation for Marrow Awareness Month…
1. There Must be a Proper Match
According to BeTheMatch.org, bone marrow can’t come from just anyone when it’s time for a transplant. While doctors must be aware of your blood type for a blood transfusion, similar rules come into play for a marrow transplant.
The source explains that a donor’s bone marrow type must match the recipient’s human leukocyte antigen (HLA) tissue type. These HLAs are protein “markers” that tell your body which cells are meant to be in your system, and which are potential threats. You can imagine what would happen within your immune system if you introduced the completely wrong marrow type.