Why You Should Donate Cord blood.
During pregnancy, the placenta and blood within it serve as the lifeline of nourishment from mother to baby through the umbilical cord. Following the birth, these items are usually discarded. However, cord blood is a rich source of adult stem cells, similar to those found in bone marrow. These blood-forming stem cells create all of a person's blood cells: red cells that carry oxygen, white cells that fight disease, and platelets that help blood clot. It is because of this multipurpose functionality that cord blood is capable of treating more than 80 different diseases, and has saved thousands of lives.
How cord blood is collected.
After your baby is born, the umbilical cord is clamped, cut, and separated from the baby. Your baby is then placed in your arms or taken to a warmer. The physician or midwife will then collect the blood remaining in the umbilical cord and placenta, while waiting for the placenta to deliver. First, your doctor/midwife will cleanse the umbilical cord. Then he/she will insert a needle into the umbilical vein and drain the blood into a collection bag. The entire procedure is noninvasive, painless, and does not interfere with the birthing process.
Donating your child's umbilical cord blood is safe.
Because the collection procedure takes place after delivery of your baby, the medical risk to you and your child is virtually non-existent. If there is any concern about the safety of you or your baby, collection will not take place. However, cord blood can only be collected from routine single-birth pregnancies.
There are no costs to donate cord blood.
You will not be charged for any expenses resulting from the collection of your baby's cord blood. Likewise, your insurance company will not be billed for anything associated with your donation. The St. Louis Cord Blood Bank assumes responsibility for all costs to collect, process, and store the unit for future use.
The difference between public and private cord blood banks.
Private cord blood banks are available for parents who wish to store their child's cord blood specifically for the child or another matched family member. No one can access the blood except the parent or the child at the age of consent. This process must be coordinated with the private cord blood bank well in advance of your delivery. The cost for private storage ranges from hundreds to thousands of dollars, plus a yearly storage fee.
When a donation is made to a public cord blood bank, such as the St. Louis Cord Blood Bank, the cord blood is donated with the hope it can help someone else in need. The blood is typed, frozen, stored, and listed with registries where it can be matched with people, anywhere in the world, who need a transplant. We apply the industry's highest quality standards to determine eligibility of cord blood units before they are stored for transplant purposes.
Public cord blood banks are important.
More than 70 percent of patients requiring a bone marrow stem cell transplant do not have an immune matched sibling. Only half of these people will be able to find a matched, unrelated donor through the national bone marrow registries. Cord blood that has been typed and stored offers an alternate transplant source that can be shipped and used at a time that is optimal for patients. Also, cord blood collected from donors of different ethnic backgrounds, offers a greater likelihood that these patients will find a match.The St. Louis Cord Blood Bank works in cooperation with other public cord blood banks, to provide a worldwide resource for patients in need of a stem cell transplant.
St. Louis Cord Blood Bank meets the highest ethical standards.
Cord blood is a source of adult stem cells similar to those contained in bone marrow. Cord blood stem cells are collected after the birth of a healthy infant, and pose no risk to the donating mother or baby. Therefore, there are no ethical issues or controversy connected with the use of these cells. This differs from controversial embryonic stem cells that require the destruction of an embryo in order to be used for research.
Sometimes cord blood units do not meet criteria for use in transplanting. Typically, this occurs if the amount of cord blood collected is too small or the unit contains too few cells. In this case, it may be used for research purposes that have been approved by the St. Louis Cord Blood Bank and meet required ethical standards.
The St. Louis Cord Blood Bank does not participate in any activities that are designed to promote human cloning or the creation of human embryos for the specific purpose of producing embryonic stem cells for research.