Every year thousands of people are diagnosed with diseases such as leukemia, lymphoma and other blood disorders that may be treated and even cured with a bone marrow transplant. Doctors look for donors among a patient's family, friends, community and bone marrow registries to find a suitable match. Only 25 percent of those in need will find a compatible match, even fewer among minority (non-Caucasian) patients.
Umbilical cord blood - the blood that remains in the umbilical cord and placenta after a baby's birth - contains stem cells that can be used in bone marrow transplant and have become very valuable to patients in need. Those who may not find a bone marrow donor may be able to find a match with umbilical cord blood. Cord blood has also become a valuable source of stem cells for research in diabetes, HIV and immunology. Several researchers at UMass Medical School depend on cord blood for their studies.
UMass Memorial Medical Center created the first cord blood donation program in New England and is proud to offer new mothers the opportunity to help another by donating their baby's cord blood. What in the past was thought of as waste and discarded can now be a valuable benefit to a patient in need or to research in human disease. In partnership with Lifeforce Cryobanks International, Inc., we established a program to educate mothers about options for cord blood banking and to offer cord blood donation to Lifeforce Cryobanks' public bank. Mothers who cannot donate to public banking efforts are encouraged to donate cord blood to researchers and advance our knowledge of human disease.
Cord blood collection and donation is easy. It is not harmful to the mother or child, and is of no cost to you or your family. After collection, the blood is "typed," identified by its genetic characteristics and entered in a database similar to that used to match donated organs with patients in need.
Our greatest reward is learning of UMass Memorial units that have been identified as potentially lifesaving matches for those in need. Our first match went to a 7-year-old in Italy, followed by 12 other units that went to patients of all ages in the United States and beyond.
Talk to your doctor to for more information or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about cord blood at www.marrow.org and see us on the news: WCVB news site.