Donate Cord Blood. Save a Life.
I'm a senior at Westwood High School, and after my grandmother received life-saving cord blood donations from two babies to fight her leukemia, I was inspired to educate women about cord blood donations. The goal of this website is to provide you with information so that you can make an educated decision about your child's cord blood.
The blood within your child's umbilical cord contains valuable stem cells. These cells grow into all of the blood cells we need to be healthy. Patients with blood diseases can greatly benefit from these healthy stem cells. Learn about the value of cord blood donation and how you can donate.
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What Is Cord Blood?
Cord blood is located within your child's umbilical cord, and is removed after the birth of your child. It contains stem cells that differentiate into all of the different blood cells: red blood cells, platelets, and white blood cells. These stem cells are less mature than stem cells taken from an adult's bone marrow, so they are more easily matched to a patient in need of a transplant.
As you can see in the image above, the hematopoietic stem cell grows into all of the different kinds of blood cells-- red blood cells, platelets, and white blood cells-- that we need to live. Since cord blood contains hematopoietic stem cells, it can be used for a stem cell transplant just like bone marrow can.
What are my Options?
- Donate it: If you donate your child's cord blood to a public bank, it could be used to help someone with a blood disease. You will not have access to your child's cord blood if you donate it.
- Bank it: If you privately bank your child's cord blood, you are guaranteed access to it. This usually costs $1500-2500 as an initial banking fee, and annual fees of a few hundred dollars. Most physicians recommend private banking if your family is at risk for blood diseases.
- Discard it: If you choose to do nothing with your child's cord blood, the hospital will throw it away as medical waste.
Why Should I Donate?
The stem cells contained in umbilical cord blood have the potential to save a life. Those suffering from blood diseases such as leukemia can benefit from cord blood donations, especially when they have no bone marrow matches. Also, the process is completely free-- you lose nothing by donating cord blood.
If you have a diverse genetic heritage, it’s especially important for you to donate; those who also have a diverse gene pool need cord blood donations as they are less likely to have a bone marrow match.
How Do I Donate?
First, talk to your doctor about cord blood donation. Some hospitals use dedicated cord blood collectors, others use collection kits, and some don't offer donation at all. If your hospital offers donation, you'll simply have to sign a few forms and everything will be taken care of for you on the day of your delivery.
Now that you've learned all about your options, I'd like to understand what you think about each of them. Again, I'm using this data solely to measure the success of my website.