Bone Marrow and Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Donors and Recipients
Chapter 14: Jehovah’s Witnesses
The father spoke softly but with conviction. My first reaction was that he was unusually articulate for a man identified as a strawberry farmer. He proceeded to explain, “I and my family are Jehovah’s Witnesses. I am the head of my household and am responsible for the spiritual, financial and moral support of my family. I have raised my children to be Jehovah’s Witnesses. My understanding of the Bible, which guides my life, tells me that we must not take blood into our body. For this reason, I cannot and will not accept a blood transfusion for my son. I realize that he is in grave danger of death. But to violate my religious beliefs by allowing you to transfuse my son with blood would offend my God, Jehovah, at a time when I need Him most.”
Chapter 13: The Father of Bone Marrow Transplantation
The upper age limit at most centers is 50 to 55 years for an allogeneic transplant (related or unrelated) and 60 to 65 years for an autologous transplant. The decisions to place age limits on hematopoietic stem cell transplantation have been driven by higher complications and death in older age groups. This is attributed to their reduced ability to withstand high doses of chemotherapy (and sometimes irradiation) needed before the transplant, higher risk of short- and long-term complications of therapy and having other major health problems such as serious heart, lung, liver or kidney disease. The older transplant recipients also suffer acute and chronic graft versus host disease more frequently than their younger counterparts.