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The business of staying healthy has become a billion dollar industry. From high cost prescriptions to elective cosmetic procedures, the range of available medical investments is unending.
What if someone told you for just a few hundred dollars each year, you could invest in having a perfectly matched set of stem cells approved for treating over 80 medical conditions, ranging from leukemia to lymphoma. It’s a minimal cost, helping the guarantee the health of your child for years to come.
Even with the benefits, and the low cost, this article isn’t here to tell you that you should pay to make this investment. Public cord blood banking is 100% free and helps ensure that the precious and valuable stem cells can go directly to a family in dire need of medical assistance.
Donating cord blood is a safe and painless procedure that can save lives.
How does Cord Blood Donation Work?
The decision to donate your cord blood must be made early on in pregnancy. Typically, paperwork for donation is completed in the 34th week to ensure that you quality and receive the collection kit in time for birth.
Following birth, the cord is cut and clamped After birth, a syringe is used to draw blood from the umbilical cord after the umbilical cord has been cut. This is a completely painless procedure that takes less than 5 minutes.
The blood will be taken to a accredited blood bank to be tested and stored until it is matched by another patient. This is very similar to the process for regular blood donation, but cord blood has many more uses than a standard whole blood donation.
If you choose to not donate your cord blood, this material (like your placenta) is simply discarded as medical waste.
Why should you donate your cord blood
If you child develops a condition that requires the use of cord blood it is HIGHLY likely that their cord blood will carry that condition and be useless for it’s treatment.
In the last decade, only 70 cord blood transplants have come from a privately banked cord blood and nearly all of those where used by a close family member, not the child who the blood was harvested from. This means that private cord blood banking is most useful if you have multiple children and requires that the other children are a proper tissue match for the transplant.
Cord blood stored in a public bank has a much higher likelihood of being used, and might be a perfect match for a family that you would have never met. If you do have a family member in need of a cord blood donation and your newborn is a tissue match, you can use the public bank to direct your donation.
There are hundreds of children awaiting cord blood matches everyday, if everyone chose to donate their cord blood, it would be much easier for families to find a match.
How to Sign Up to Donate
The decision to donate cord blood should be made three months before your due date. This ensures enough time to register and receive all the paperwork needed for your donation. Interested donors can sign up on Be the Match
Share with your doctor or midwife that you wish to donate your cord blood and determine if the hospital you plan to deliver at is a participating collection site. If not, you may be able to receive a cord blood collection kit to ensure that your cord blood can be sent directly to the bank.
When you arrive at the hospital, share with the labor and delivery team that you wish to donate your cord blood. You will sign a consent form and provide a blood sample to be tested for infection diseases. This sample is taken only from you and not your baby.
Following delivery, the hospital will harvest the cord blood and send it along for storage. It’s easier than donating blood!
Looking for more ways to prepare for your new arrival? Check out our article on preparing for your baby registry and shower.