Why Umbilical Cord Blood Donation Is Important
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 bone marrow donors among a patient's family, friends, community and bone marrow registries to find a suitable match. But only about 30 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. Patients who can’t 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
use cord blood for their studies in diabetes and immune function.
How You Can Help
UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, MA, 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 simply thrown away may now be lifesaving to a patient in need or may help us learn about human disease.
In partnership with Lifeforce Cryobanks International, Inc., we established a program to educate mothers about their options for cord blood banking and to offer cord blood donation to the public bank at Lifeforce Cryobanks. Mothers who cannot donate to public banking efforts are encouraged to donate cord blood for research studies.
Cord Blood Donation is Free and Easy
Cord blood donation is easy. It isn’t harmful to the mother or child, and there is no cost to you or your family. After the baby is delivered and separated from the umbilical cord and placenta, the cord blood is collected in a donation bag. The blood is then "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 cord blood units that have been identified as potentially lifesaving matches for patients. Our first match went to a 7-year-old in Italy, followed by 14 other units that went to patients of all ages in the United States and beyond.
For more information, please talk to your doctor or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
. Your generosity could truly save someone’s life.