A bone marrow transplant is a procedure to replace damaged or destroyed bone marrow with healthy bone marrow stem cells. Bone marrow is the spongy, fatty tissue inside your bones. It creates the following parts of the blood:

  • red blood cells, which carry oxygen and nutrients throughout the body
  • white blood cells, which fight infection
  • platelets, which are responsible for the formation of clots

Types of Transplant

An autologous transplant is when a person’s own cells are used. These cells are collected from the patient’s bloodstream and stored for transplant. Autologous transplant may be an option for patients with certain diseases.

An allogeneic transplant is when cells from a family member, unrelated donor or umbilical cord blood unit are used for transplant. This is also called a related donor transplant if the donor is a family member or an unrelated donor transplant if the donor is not a family member.

Umbilical cord blood transplant. This is a type of allogeneic transplant. Stem cells are removed from a newborn baby’s umbilical cord right after birth. The stem cells are frozen and stored until they are needed for a transplant. Umbilical cord blood cells are very immature so there is less of a need for perfect matching. Due to the smaller number of stem cells, blood counts take much longer to recover.


During the recovery, you receive antibiotics and other drugs. This includes medications to prevent graft-versus-host disease. After the transplant, people visit the clinic frequently at first and less often over time. It varies. For an ablative transplant, people are usually in the hospital for about 4 weeks in total. For a reduced intensity transplant, people are in the hospital or visit the clinic daily for about a week.


The median total cost of bone marrow transplantation was $ 16,650 (range $ 10,331–44,701).

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