Donate Cord Blood
Umbilical cord blood donation can save critically-ill patients suffering from leukemia, lymphoma, and more than 70 other diseases.
But keep in mind: cord blood donation requires simple, advanced preparation, and the obstetrician must act immediately after the umbilical cord is clamped and cut. Fortunately, the donated blood is withdrawn from the umbilical cord after it is detached, so there is no discomfort for the mother or baby.
Yet, most delivery room doctors discard life-saving cord blood as medical waste, even though cord blood donation is desperately needed by tens of thousands of people who have life-threatening illnesses.
Here's the point: the blood in an umbilical cord consists of stem cells that can "transform" into various types of healthy cell tissue. That tissue may be a treatment for many serious illnesses, including leukemia and other cancers, sickle cell disease, brain tumors, and osteoporosis. In the future, stem cells from donated cord blood may also be used to treat heart disease, vision loss (due to loss of corneal epithelial cells), Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and diabetes.
Although some ill patients "match" with a family member who can donate stem cells that are suitable for their treatment, nearly 75 percent of patients are not so fortunate. Cord blood donations can give these critically-ill patients a much better chance of finding stem cells that match their tissue type.
Unlike the ethical issues that surround embryonic stem cell research, stem cells from live-birth cord blood are collected from an umbilical cord that would otherwise be thrown away, so there are no moral barriers.
Your cord blood donation will be screened for diseases and genetic issues. If the blood does not meet eligibility criteria, it may be used for research (if you gave consent for that use). If the cord blood does meet requirements, it will be stored at a public cord blood bank and entered on a registry which doctors can search to find matches.
The need for cord blood donations from ethnic minorities (African-American, Asians, Hawaiians, Hispanics, Latinos, Native Americans, and mixed races) is especially critical, because there are not enough suitable donations from these populations, and there is greater variation among tissue types in many minorities, which makes it more difficult to find a suitable match.
Stem cell research has given "the miracle of birth" a whole new meaning: A newly delivered infant has the potential to save the life of another human being, just by donating umbilical cord blood that would otherwise be thrown away. Can you help?
I Did This!
Do you want to help even more? As an expectant parent, you probably know several other expectant parents.
Many expectant parents are not aware of how cord blood donations work, who they benefit, and how easy they are. You can help save lives if you encourage expectant parents to store their baby's cord blood for their own family or to donate the cord blood to a public cord-blood bank. To get started:
Newborns can make a life-altering difference in the world even before they leave the hospital. A cord blood donation is all it takes.
Make a Difference
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