On top of donating whole blood, red cells, plasma and platelets, families can also donate the blood from their newborn’s umbilical cord.
This blood is a source of stem cells, which helps with modern medical treatments. Stem cells are the “building blocks of organ tissue, blood and the immune system” and are used to help patients with leukemia, lymphoma, anemia and some types of cancer. These stem cells are not embryonic. They are not taken from fertilized eggs.
Why donate cord blood?
In addition to having the potential to help patients afflicted with the conditions above, parents also choose to have their baby’s cord blood preserved as a safeguard to help their child in the event of a future illness. There are far fewer complications when cord blood stem cells are used in such situations, because the cells are younger than bone marrow. So, if the baby becomes ill, his or her own stem cells can be used to assist in the treatment.
Types of Cord Blood Donation
There are two options for donating cord blood: family banking and public donation. Families can collect the baby’s blood specifically for the family (for a fee). Or they can donate it to the public – for free – where it will be used for anyone who needs stem cells. As with all blood donations, both the mother and the baby must meet certain eligibility requirements before they are permitted to blood to the public.
How Can I Donate?
If you are interested in donating your child’s cord blood, contact Cord Blood Registry at 1-888-932-6568 or visit their website (www.cordblood.com) for additional information and to find a local hospital that collects cord blood.
What’s your stance on saving your child’s cord blood?