The lead-up to a bone marrow transplant can take weeks or even months. During this time, your family will have many questions and concerns. To help you through this period, the UCLA Health Blood and Bone Marrow Transplant & Cellular Therapies Program Bone Marrow Transplant Program has a dedicated pediatric transplant team.
Our caring experts focus on the specific needs of pediatric patients and their families. They will guide you through the process of preparing for your child’s bone marrow transplant (BMT). You’ll receive compassionate care and support, for your child and your entire family.
Before your child’s bone marrow transplant
If your child is a candidate for BMT, your family will meet with your child’s transplant team many times over several weeks. You’ll discuss your options in detail, including the risks and benefits of a transplant.
The medical preparations before pediatric bone marrow transplant include:
- Health evaluation: Your child will need to come into the hospital for a complete medical history and physical exam. Doctors will perform tests to check your child’s blood and organ functions. The goal is to ensure he or she is physically able to handle the transplant.
- Finding a bone marrow donor: Our dedicated pediatric transplant coordinator will search for the best possible match for your child. The process can include testing members of your family and searching the National Marrow Donor Program registry. Find out more about becoming a bone marrow donor.
- Fertility preservation: The high doses of chemotherapy and radiation given before a bone marrow transplant can affect your child’s future fertility. Our fertility preservation experts can meet with you and your child to discuss possibilities for preserving fertility. With the right preparation, your child can still have the option of children of their own when they get older.
- Conditioning: Patients typically check into the hospital or outpatient clinic about 5 to 10 days before their BMT. During this time, your child will undergo a process called conditioning to prepare for the infusion of donor stem cells. The conditioning involves several doses of chemotherapy, full-body radiation or both, to weaken or destroy your child’s cancer and unhealthy bone marrow.
Support for families after BMT
In addition to taking the best care possible of your child’s physical needs, our experts are here to support your family in other ways. Our care includes:
- Financial counseling: You will have the option to meet with a financial counselor to discuss treatment costs. The counselor can help you understand what your insurance will cover and other options to manage the expense of a transplant.
- Emotional support: Our Child Life Team works with young patients, their parents and siblings to support them throughout the transplant journey. Our pediatric transplant program can also put current patients and their families in touch with those who have already gone through BMT. Talking to other kids who’ve been in the same situation can help alleviate fears and concerns that come up during the transplant process.
- Educational assistance: The Child Life Team will work with your child’s school to help your child keep up with their studies until he or she can go back to the classroom.
To make an appointment with our Pediatric Blood and Bone Marrow Transplant & Cellular Therapies ProgramBone Marrow Transplant Program, please call 310-825-6708.