Consider Donating Your Baby’s Umbilical Cord Blood
Each year, thousands of people are diagnosed with life-threatening diseases such as leukemia, lymphoma, and sickle cell disease that can be treated with the stem cells extracted from the blood in the umbilical cord of newborns.
As with bone marrow transplants, doctors can match cord blood to a patient and then transplant it to potentially save a life. If not suitable for patient use, donated cord blood may also be used for medical research to further increase the therapeutic uses of cord blood cells.
Unfortunately, the umbilical cord is often discarded unless expectant mothers choose to donate the cord blood to a public cord blood bank.
Mercy Partners to Launch a Public Cord Blood Donation Program
Mercy Medical Center has partnered with the Cord for Life Foundation, Save the Cord Foundation, the Maryland Catholic Conference and Morgan State University to educate women about the importance of donating their newborn’s umbilical cord blood. In October 2010, Mercy launched the first public cord blood donation program in Maryland, and today all women giving birth at Mercy have the opportunity to donate their newborn’s lifesaving umbilical cord blood for free to be listed in the Be The Match Registry® operated by the National Marrow Donor Program.
The cord blood will be made available to patients in need of transplants in Maryland or anywhere in the world. There is a great shortage of minority cord blood available for patients in need, and because the best opportunity to find a match is from someone of the same ethnic background, it can be difficult for minorities to locate a successful match.
If you are of a minority ethnic background, please consider donating your newborn’s cord blood. By donating your newborn’s cord blood, you will be helping to increase the number of donations in the Be The Match Registry so everyone can have a greater chance of finding a match.
There is No Cost to Help Save Lives With Donated Cord Blood
The fees for processing, testing and storing are covered by the cord blood bank. Collection is quick, painless and harmless to the mother and baby. There is no change to the delivery method of your baby; in fact the collection happens after your baby has been delivered and the umbilical cord has been clamped and cut.
If you are interested in donating, begin the process before the 34th week of your pregnancy by talking with your doctor or nurse about your intentions. The process of donating is relatively simple, but it does require preparation and planning. You will need to pre-qualify, complete the necessary paperwork and obtain a collection kit, which you must bring to the hospital when delivering your baby.
Cord blood donated through the program at Mercy will be sent to the AABB-accredited facility Lifeforce Cryobanks for processing and storage. All information provided to the cord blood bank is handled confidentially by the doctors, nurses, medical technicians and other trained staff at the Cord for Life Foundation.
If you have questions or wish to begin the process, talk to your physician or call the Cord for Life Foundation at 800-869-8068.