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H H S Department of Health and Human Services
Health Resources and Services Administration
Blood Cell Transplant

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Planning for a Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT)

If you're going to have a transplant, there are things you can do now to help you and your family prepare.

On this page:

Consider the Transplant Center

First, you should check which transplant centers are covered by your health insurance.

Then, talk with your doctor about transplant centers that meet your specific needs. Consider asking the transplant center doctor:

  • How many patients like me has this transplant center treated?
  • How well do people treated at this center do after transplant?

You and your family will be spending a lot of time with the transplant team. Consider visiting the center and meeting the team.

To learn about the types of experience to look for, see Choosing a Transplant Center.

To review the results of transplants at a specific center, see U.S. Transplant Centers. From this list you can find information specific to that center: contact information, diseases treated, transplant experience, and patient survival.

Plan for Transplant Costs

Every health insurance plan is different, so you should talk to your insurance company as soon as you can. This way you can know ahead of time what your insurance will pay for and what you may have to pay. Some costs not covered by insurance may include, office visits, travel, housing costs if the transplant takes place far from home, and co-pays for medicines.

If you don't have insurance, talk to the social worker at your transplant center. You may be eligible for state or county programs, or other forms of financial help.

For information about transplant expenses, insurance coverage, and resources to help you find answers to financial questions:

If friends or family want to raise money for costs not covered by insurance, see Fundraising for a Friend or Family Member.

Prepare for Changes in Daily Life

Planning with family and friends before the transplant is important. Think about your responsibilities and who might be able to do them for you. Give people specific tasks to help you. Have a family member or friend organize your support. You also may find it helpful to talk with other transplant recipients for tips and emotional support.

To learn specific ideas that have helped other patients plan for transplant, and to find other transplant patients and survivors, see Preparing Yourself & Your Family.

Prepare for Recovery

Many transplant survivors say they feel better one year after transplant. Some people feel better sooner, for others it takes more time.

During the first several months after a transplant, your body will be weak. You may also be at higher risk for infections. To ease your recovery, follow the instructions from your transplant team. By one year after transplant, many transplant recipients are able to return to work or school.

During recovery, most transplant recipients experience some side effects. These may last for several months or longer. Some are easy to manage. Others may be serious or painful. You can't always control whether you will have these long-term effects, but you and your doctor can take steps to treat and cope with them. 

To learn how to stay healthy during recovery and manage the effects of a transplant, see Life after transplant. exit disclaimer

To find out about tests and medications you may need after transplant, see Post-Transplant Care Guidelines.

Help Your Child or Teenager Through His or Her Transplant

A transplant is a long and intense process that will affect the entire family. Learn what to expect to help you an dyour family cope with any challenges ahead.

Talk with your child about what to expect at each phase during the transplant process including recovery. Share information tailored to his or her developmental age. Give your child opportunities to express feelings and ask questions.

Teens going through transplant may struggle to have privacy and independence. Talk with the transplant team about ways your teen can participate in the treatment plan.

For more information about how to talk with your child or teenager who needs a transplant, see Preparing for Your Child’s Transplant.