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Donating bone marrow

If you have come this far, you are interested in finding out more about bone marrow donation. First of all, THANK YOU FOR YOUR SOLIDARITY. We will try to provide you with as much information as possible, but remember that it is very important to be extensively informed, so we recommend you to watch the video guide and some very interesting documents that you should read carefully on this page.

You can also find all the information on the website, a campaign by the National Transplant Organisation, the Autonomous Communities and the Josep Carreras Foundation.

Shall we start?

In general terms, any healthy person between the ages of 18 and 60 years of age can be a bone marrow donor, registration is permitted between the ages of 18 and 40 years, provided that they do not suffer from any disease that could be transmitted to the recipient and that they do not suffer from any disease that could endanger their life as a result of the donation.

As of 2018, only NEW DONORS between the ages of 18 and 40 years are included in the registry. This is due to the goal of rejuvenating and optimising the composition of our donor registry, as younger donors are the most sought after and have the best clinical outcomes for transplant patients. Once registered, donors will remain available in the REDMO database until the age of 60.

Bone marrow donation in our country is voluntary and altruistic. It is governed by the principle of international solidarity. Anyone registered as a bone marrow donor is available to give haematopoietic progenitors (blood stem cells) to anyone in the world who needs them.

What does it mean to be a bone marrow donor?

Every year 6,000 people are diagnosed with leukaemia in Spain. Many will need a bone marrow transplant to overcome the disease. 3 out of 4 patients will not have a compatible family member.

Bone marrow transplantation is the only hope for many people affected by leukaemia and other blood diseases. It mainly consists of replacing the patient’s diseased cells with healthy cells from a donor.

Sara, 29 years old

Acute Myeloid Leukaemia.

“At 17 years old I was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia. It was a huge setback. My mother had just been diagnosed with breast cancer. In the summer of 2014, I underwent my bone marrow transplant from an unrelated donor located by the REDMO program of the Josep Carreras Foundation, and my mother also had surgery. After 9 years, although with quite a few limitations, I am studying to be a nurse.”

How to become a bone marrow donor?

Step 1: Gain information

Bone marrow donation can be life-saving and requires a relatively simple process. However, the information on the donation is dense and requires a it to be read leisurely. Informing yourself extensively is the best way to make the decision to become a bone marrow donor with peace of mind. Remember, giving is not difficult, but it is a commitment. Once you have registered as a voluntary bone marrow donor, you will be available to give haematopoietic progenitors (blood stem cells) to anyone in the world who needs them.

Donating bone marrow…

  • IS to offer your anonymous and altruistic help to any patient in the world who needs it.
  • IS a commitment to yourself and to others.
  • IS the only donation that can be made during one’s life and in which the cells are 100% regenerated.
  • IS the only possible cure for hundreds of people in need.
  • IS to give LIFE.
  • IS NOT anything to do with your spinal cord but with your bone marrow, where blood stem cells are generated. In colloquial language it is called “marrow”. It has nothing to do with the area of the spinal cord or its nerves.
  • IS NOT an intervention that removes your bone marrow. It regenerates completely.
  • IS NOT about giving to someone else and then not being able to give if a family member requires it. You can donate several times.
  • IS NOT to register as a donor exclusively for a specific individual, but for anyone in the world who needs it.
  • IS NOT dangerous for the donor.

Francisco José

Bone marrow donor.

“It all started when my partner encouraged me to go with her to donate blood. Once there, she gave me the push to make the decision I had been wanting to make for a long time: to register as a bone marrow donor. To my great surprise, they called me from the Josep Carreras Foundation’s REDMO program only after a few months. That’s when it all started. My heart leapt with joy and nerves at the same time. I couldn’t believe that so soon I could be a great help to someone who needed it. I was going to save a life! It seems unbelievable, but it is true, with a small effort something so big is achieved. To you, future donor, I want to thank you for making the decision and tell you that you will never regret it, that the sensation you will feel will be unique and unrepeatable. All together we save lives”.

Step 2: Register

If you meet the requirements to register as a bone marrow donor and you have informed yourself extensively, you can now register. HERE (or on the ONT website) you can consult the contact details of all the donor reference centres in Spain.

Download the “Informed consent + Registration form” file and contact the reference centre closest to you and they will tell you where to go and when.

Informed consent + registration form spanish
(PDF 348KB)

Informed consent + registration form catalan
(PDF 348KB)

consent + registration form Galician
(PDF 342KB)

consent + registration form Basque
(PDF 345KB)


Step 3: If you are a match...

To understand the different ways of extracting blood stem cells from bone marrow, it is interesting to understand what their function is and what bone marrow is. How are stem cells obtained from the donor? Donation of haematopoietic progenitors can be carried out via two procedures:

1. Peripheral blood: Obtaining peripheral blood stem cells after administration of 1 or usually 2 subcutaneous injections per day for 4-5 days, to ensure a minimum amount of stem cells in the blood.  Agents called “growth factors” are injected into the donor to move stem cells from the bone marrow into the bloodstream.

2. Bone marrow: Extracting medullary blood from the iliac crests (posterior-superior part of the pelvis) by means of punctures. This procedure is performed under general or epidural anaesthesia and requires a 24-hour hospital stay. This procedure is currently performed in only 20% of cases or for patients with very particular diseases who respond better to this type of donation.

Step 4: Are you still registered if you have already donated?

A few weeks after the donation, the recovery of the bone marrow function is complete and the tests results will come back normal, and therefore a second donation can be made without any problems.

Since it is possible that the patient for whom it has been given over time may require a second donation for various reasons, the donor is reserved indefinitely in anticipation of this possibility. Therefore, after a donation, the donor is cancelled for donations for other patients.

In any case, there is no problem if the donor has to donate his or her cells to a family member.

+ info:

You can also read the Bone Marrow Donor Guide. Make sure you read to understand everything perfectly!

Bone marrow transplant guide

To request more information about bone marrow donation or to resolve any queries, contact the Bone Marrow Donor Registry (REDMO), managed by the Josep Carreras Foundation, by calling 93 414 55 66 or by sending an e-mail to

Lucas, 38 years old

Hodgkin's lymphoma.

“In June 2019 I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and everything in my life began to change, work, projects, trips and a long etcetera were paused. Priorities also changed. Hospitals were at the top of the list, tests, chemo, and everything else took a backseat. When I was diagnosed, they told me all going to be a matter of 6 months of treatments, a little recovery from chemo, and I will be ready to go back into the world because Hodgkin’s lymphoma is one of the most curable blood cancers. 

But my plans went awry since they detected an early relapse. After an autologous bone marrow transplant, I relapsed again and, finally, in 2021, I underwent a transplant from an unrelated donor located by the Foundation’s REDMO program. Wherever you are, THANK YOU to my donor and to all those who are registered in REDMO, I hug you with my soul, but, above all, full of LIFE thanks to my donor.”

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