Transplant process

Your child’s bone marrow transplant (BMT) can be lengthy and involved. Children’s Hospital has assembled a team, led by a transplant coordinator, to help you through each step.

Blood and marrow transplant team

As leaders in the field of blood and marrow transplant, Children’s has an exceptional, dedicated team that includes physicians, specialists, skilled clinical nurses, pharmacists, dieticians, a child life specialist, social worker and child psychologist. Plus, you’ll be paired with a transplant coordinator who’ll help you navigate the whole process.

Evaluation for bone marrow transplant

The first step of the BMT process is to determine if a transplant is a good fit for your child. Our team will carefully review your child’s health history and order diagnostic tests. We also arrange for your child and your family to meet with a child psychologist and a social worker to make sure everyone is prepared for what lies ahead.

Finding a donor

Sometimes blood-forming stem cells (cells from which all blood cells develop) can be removed from your child, stored and later given back. If stem cells are required from another person, we will first investigate whether another family member may be a good donor match for your child. If there are none, there are registries that list and match voluntary cord blood, peripheral blood and marrow stem cell donors. At Children’s, we work diligently to find a match for your child as quickly as possible.

Pre-transplant education

There’s a lot of information to understand before your child’s transplant – and you’ll probably have a lot of questions. At Children’s, providing you with the information you need before the BMT is important. Through your transplant coordinator, we establish an open, ongoing dialogue. You’ll receive written information about transplant and also have a chance to meet with all the key members of your child’s transplant team.

Bone marrow transplant

BMT is a method of replacing immature blood-forming cells in the bone marrow that have been destroyed by drugs, radiation or disease. Stem cells will be injected into your child to make healthy blood cells. A BMT may use your child’s own stem cells that were saved before treatment or use stem cells donated by someone else. The transplanted cells make their way to your child’s bone marrow and start making new, healthy blood cells.  

Aftercare

After the transplant, your child will receive supportive care, as we closely watch him or her for signs of infection and other complications. This may mean a lengthy hospital stay, a number of different medications and possibly blood transfusions.

Follow-up care

Long-term health following a BMT requires regular return visits to monitor your child’s progress. You may have to continue to watch for signs of infection. We’ll teach you what to look for and what to do if that occurs.