Talk to a Transplant Doctor

Talk to a Pediatric Transplant Doctor

We hope the general information on this website helps in your research about transplants in children—how they work, how results have gotten better, and why the Fred Hutchinson Bone Marrow Transplant Program at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) is a good choice.

But your child’s treatment will depend on his or her unique condition and history. We know you are looking for answers that are specific to your child’s situation. That’s why we encourage families of children who may require a bone marrow transplant (BMT) to talk directly to one of our pediatric transplant specialists—by phone or in person—about their child’s condition and therapy options.

Please call us toll-free to learn more about the transplant program. A pediatric transplant doctor is available to talk with you.

Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Telephone: (800) 804-8824

If your child’s doctor or a friend or family member is helping you explore and understand your child’s transplant options, we’re happy to include them in your telephone call.

You can also contact us by email at or schedule an initial consultation at the SCCA outpatient clinic on Lake Union.

We Welcome Your Phone Call or Visit

Even if you do not yet have an official referral from your child’s primary doctor, a first phone call to SCCA can often answer your most urgent questions. In many cases, our doctors will be able to clear up confusion, address concerns, describe general treatment and timing options, and provide a roadmap for what might be needed next. In some cases, you may even learn about new treatments not yet described on this or other websites.

Visiting us in Seattle for a scouting trip may also help you weigh your options. This information-gathering visit will allow you to meet our doctors and transplant nurses, ask more detailed questions, and get a first-hand look at our clinics, hospital, and nearby housing and school options.

We understand that many families cannot travel here when they are still considering their options and evaluating different transplant centers. So please contact us with transplant-related questions at (800) 804-8824 or Informal first consultations by phone are a big part of what our doctors do everyday. We are committed to helping you in your up-front research and planning.

Keep in mind: For many children with cancer or other rapidly progressing diseases, referrals and decisions about transplant may need to happen fast. Delaying a transplant may allow the disease to progress and reduce chances of transplant success. We usually advise not waiting too long before deciding about your child’s transplant. For some children—for example, those with certain rare genetic disorders—parents may have more time to try medical therapies before transplantation is required. Whatever your situation or timing, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Once you do your research and decide Seattle is best for your child’s BMT, then we will help you arrange a full official first visit that will include a meeting with your child’s doctor, a full clinical examination, and a data-review conference to discuss the final decisions surrounding your child’s treatment plan.

Information to Have Ready

For an initial phone call or visit, be ready to describe the following:

  • Your child’s diagnosis
  • The stage or status of the disease
  • Your child’s current health and quality of life
  • Previous treatments
  • Insurance information

A short written summary, perhaps from your child’s primary doctor, is always helpful. To provide detailed guidance, our doctors may need to ask you or your child’s doctor to send more information about your child’s condition. This can happen before or after an official referral.

Questions to Ask

Our doctors will try their best to answer all your questions. If you don’t understand an answer or you want to know more about the evidence behind an answer, don’t hesitate to say so.

In addition to specific questions about your child’s condition and potential treatments, consider discussing the following questions with our doctors and nurses:

  • What are appropriate BMT treatment options or BMT alternatives? What facts support that recommendation?
  • What are the risks of waiting to decide about a BMT (and either choosing a different treatment or doing nothing in the meantime)? What are my child’s chances of living disease-free with a transplant? Without a transplant?
  • What are the basic steps and timing of BMT?
  • Does my child have special health risks that might affect the transplant outcome?
  • What are our likely chances of success (long-term survival) with BMT?
  • What are the potential risks and long-term effects of BMT? What is the long-term quality of life after a transplant?
  • How will you support us and help us avoid graft-versus-host disease after my child has a BMT at SCCA?
  • What new types of BMT and related treatments are now available at SCCA, including in clinical studies?

Getting full answers to these questions may require providing more information about the details of your child’s condition or even making a trip to Seattle for a full workup, but many families find their first phone call to an SCCA transplant specialist to be highly informative and reassuring.

Learn More

As you learn more about your child’s treatment options and start to compare transplant centers, you will likely have even more questions and practical concerns.

To find out more about our experience, results, and programs, see Why Choose SCCA for Pediatric Transplant.

Be The Match, operated by the National Marrow Donor Program, recommends a set of questions to ask when you’re comparing transplant centers. To get a better sense of what treatment will be like here, see our answers to these questions.