Parents may choose to donate cord blood to a public cord blood bank
In the past, when most babies were born in a hospital, the umbilical cord and placenta were discarded after the birth. Now, researchers have found ways to use stem cells collected from umbilical cord blood to treat children and adults with certain diseases. Currently, these cells may be used to treat over 70 diseases, ranging from cancer and hereditary diseases to immune system or blood disorders.
There are two options to consider if you choose to collect cord blood after you give birth: cord blood donation or cord blood banking. Cord blood banking involves collecting your infant’s cord blood and sending it to a private cord blood bank to be tested and stored for your private use in the future.
Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend that patients who choose to collect cord blood should choose cord blood donation instead of cord blood banking. Patients can also choose to discard the umbilical cord and placenta after giving birth.
Renaissance Women’s Group physicians believe that patients should make an informed choice about cord blood, and we recommend that our patients discuss this issue with us, as well as with their pediatrician.
Are there risks associated with cord blood donation?
After you’ve given birth, cord blood is collected directly from the umbilical cord after it is clamped. It’s not painful or harmful to mother or infant. The blood is sent to a public cord blood bank, where it is tested; if it’s deemed safe, it’s stored for use by anyone who needs it.
How will others benefit from my cord blood donation?
Thousands of patients each year contract life-threatening diseases such as leukemia and lymphoma, and they need to find donors that have a matching tissue type. Doctors can use cord blood to help these people. The need is particularly great among racial and ethnic minorities. Be The Match says that 18 percent of transplant patients today have received cord blood from a public cord blood bank.
How do I donate cord blood?
You will need to:
- Talk to your obgyn and contact a public cord blood bank before your 34th week of pregnancy.
- You will be asked to fill out a detailed medical history that includes the mother’s, father’s and other family members’ health history. This is done to see if you have any immune or blood system disorders.
There is no fee for cord blood donation.
For more information, please see the brochure from the Texas Department of State Health Services regarding Umbilical Cord Blood Banking and Donation. If you cannot access this brochure online, please notify our staff, and we will provide you with one.
We know that there are many choices for parents to make throughout their pregnancy and delivery. Your obgyn will always try to provide as much information as possible. Contact us for more information about cord blood donation, your pregnancy and delivery.