What is Cord Blood Donation? - The Koch Family
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What is Cord Blood Donation?

Cord blood donation is the banking of umbilical cord blood after birth for donation to an individual in need. After birth, some blood remains in the umbilical cord. While this blood is not needed by the infant, it can be banked for future use by the family or a stranger in need. Pregnant women often have several questions regarding cord blood donation. Women who desire to find answers now will find the following information useful.

What is cord blood used for?

Cord blood serves many life-saving purposes. Stem cells in cord blood have properties similar to those in bone marrow. These stem cells can be used to a treat several diseases and life threatening conditions or be used in lieu of a bone marrow transplant. Cord blood has been used to treat leukemia and immune disorders. Recently, research has been conducted to determine how cord blood cells can be used in regenerative medicine. Studies indicate that cord blood can contribute to healing and cell regeneration and could be used to treat conditions such as diabetes, cerebral palsy, and brain injury.

What are the options for parents considering cord blood donation?

There are two types of cord blood banks available. Public cord blood banks acquire cord blood donations to be distributed on a basis determined by the cord bank. Any individual in need is eligible to register for cord blood and the donating party has no rights to the cord blood after the donation. Private cord blood banks reserve the cord blood for a fee. The parents have exclusive rights to the cord blood until the child is 18, at which time the blood is open for general use. If parents donate to a public cord bank, the blood is tested for infectious diseases and then immediately typed and matched to potential recipients. The identity of both the parent and child remains private.

How is cord blood collected?

Women wishing to donate cord blood should be prepared well before their due date. The hospital and delivery staff will need to be informed in order to properly collect and submit the blood. After delivery, the umbilical cord is clamped and blood is collected from the portion of the cord still attached to the placenta. After the blood is collected, the donation center will test the blood and proceed to store or match the sample.

Cord blood donation is a simple procedure that can save lives. However, women should research donation options carefully and plan with their healthcare providers when making this decision.


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