News

Difference between blood and blood stem cell donation

Often people get confused between blood donation and blood stem cell donation. Although both are done in a similar way but there is a difference between the outcome and aim of the procedures. We’re here to break down the difference between blood donation and blood stem cell donation.

Last updated: 06/02/2021

Often people get confused between blood donation and blood stem cell donation. Although both are done in a similar way but there is a difference between the outcome and aim of the procedures.

We’re here to break down the difference between blood donation and blood stem cell donation.

BLOOD DONATION

A blood donation occurs when a person voluntarily has blood drawn and used for blood transfusions.

Blood donations are provided to hospitals in order to administer blood transfusions for patients in need. Unlike blood stem cell donations, suitable matches for a blood donation are characterized by different blood groups.

BLOOD STEM CELL DONATION

Blood stem cell transplants are used to treat blood cancers and blood disorders. Donating blood stem cells is similar to blood platelet donation. However, donor eligibility differs and the suitability of a match is based on the patient and donor’s human leukocyte antigen (HLA) combination (tissue type), rather than blood type.

There are more than 25,000 HLA characteristics that exist (and more are being discovered!), which exist in millions of combinations. This makes finding matches really difficult. That's why it's so important to have more people on the stem cell registry. The more donors, the higher chances for matches.

If you’re called upon to donate, it will be done through the Peripheral Blood Stem Cell (PBSC) collection. The donation process looks similar to donating blood but instead of giving whole blood, you only donate stem cells from your blood through a process called Apheresis.

You can find everything you need to know about the donation methods and registration process on our website here!

Related stories
Help us to register even more lifesavers
We’d love it if you could help us to get more people on the registry and thus give new hope for life to many blood cancer patients.