Preparing for Transplant

There are several steps involved in undergoing a bone marrow, stem cell or cord blood transplant. Learn what you'll need to do to get ready for treatment and recovery.

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A blood stem cell transplant is a rigorous medical procedure that saves many lives each year.

The entire transplant process, starting from advance preparations through recovery, takes many months.

Steps Involved in a Bone Marrow, Stem Cell or Cord Blood Transplant

The transplant process involves several steps:

  • choosing a transplant center
  • pre-transplant testing to determine if you are a good candidate for a transplant
  • finding a blood stem cell donor, unless you will be using your own stem cells for transplant
  • collecting stem cells for the transplant
  • preparing you for transplant with chemotherapy and/or total body irradiation
  • infusing cells into your body on the day of transplant
  • supportive care during the early recovery period
  • long-term monitoring and follow-up care

How to Prepare for a Transplant

  • Identify a full-time family caregiver or team of caregivers who can care for you while you are too ill to take care of yourself
  • Prepare yourself and your family emotionally for the transplant and recovery period
  • Plan who will manage the many expenses associated with a transplant as well as routine household bills while you are ill
  • Decide who will take care of family and household responsibilities while you are undergoing treatment
  • Decide if preserving your fertility after transplant is important and, if so, take steps to do that

If your child is the transplant patient, you will need to prepare the patient, siblings, teachers and classmates for what to expect during and after transplant.

Use the menu on the right to help you explore all of these issues in more detail.

Watch a video by a transplant survivor about how to plan and survive a bone marrow/stem cell transplant

(To view this page in Spanish click here)

Next Page: Choosing a Transplant Center

Updated August, 2023