Trivial Pursuit – Transplant Edition

A few random tidbits I’ve learned about bone marrow (or stem cell) transplants:

  • Transplant day is often referred to as one’s re-birthday. I love the idea of celebrating multiple birthdays :-).
  • A transplant that uses one’s own marrow or stem cells is called autologous. One that uses another person’s marrow or stem cells is called allogenic. An allogenic transplant with a matched unrelated donor is often referred to as MUD, not to be confused with MUDD of multi user Dungeons and Dragons.
  • Matching is based on tissue type, not blood type. If the donor has a different blood type than the recipient, the recipient’s blood type will change. Blood type is based on red cells only.
  • Donors might come from anywhere in the world.
  • Unrelated donors remain anonymous to the recipient for at least one year.  Some donors prefer to remain anonymous forever and may do so at their prerogative.  I hope to be able to thank my donor in person some day.
  • After the marrow is harvested from the donor, it will be infused in the recipient within 24 hours.
  • When you get a transplant, you lose all immunities that you obtained through childhood diseases and vaccinations…measles, mumps, polio, small pox, etc. Vaccinations are usually redone one year after transplant for killed vaccine and two years for live vaccine.
  • You do not get the donor’s immunities but you might get their allergies. I sure hope my donor isn’t allergic to cats!
  • If I have a male donor, I’ll end up with XY chromosome blood. (this tidbit courtesy of Greg H.) I wonder if it would keep me out of the Olympics. 😉


  1. Hi Karen;
    Wow, a lot to learn isn’t it?
    I hope as well you will not come out of this with allergies for cats.
    You will have to then get one of those hairless ugly cats for a pet. 🙂

  2. All those details are fascinating. I knew the transplant would result in a compromised immune system in the short turn; but I had no idea you would lose immunities. And, I hope you don’t come home allergic to your children. I have heard cat allergies are adjustable and cat specific. I’m more allergic to other people’s cats than my own. And my allergies vary between the girls.
    I’m wishing you well.

  3. How very interesting. Is there any way to find out their allergies, so you can prepare yourself? I would be most concerned about food allergies myself.

  4. Hey Karen!

    I heard one lady call into a webinar and mention in passing that her donor was male — so now she has XY Chromosome blood instead of XX Chromosome blood!

    Just another strange thing to know about transplants.

    Take care!

    Greg H

  5. In my heart I will be with you step by step. Remember that Mother always said, “This too will pass.” and then you will have another birthday–Michael will not be able to afford you. Love, me

  6. Andy Thomas and John

    I hope you don’t lose all of your immunities – but don’t you worry, we would never vote you off the island!!!!

    That was my attempt at HUMOUR!


    Hey, if you become allergic to cats you may just turn into a DOG lover — Ted E. Bear is holding out some hope after all!!!

    Love you!

  7. Ditto on my mom’s post on what my Grandma always said. Thinking of you today.


  8. These are fascinating facts. Are we going to have to take a quiz at the end of the process? If so, I need to start memorizing these now. Love you. 🙂

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