The Rhode Island Blood Center and Women & Infants are asking pregnant mothers to consider donating their umbilical cord blood after their child is delivered. Participating mothers will help the Rhode Island Blood Center learn more about creating a state-wide public cord blood bank. This information explains why a donation is so valuable to save lives.
Cord Blood Is Now a Life Saving Option
Every year, thousands of patients are diagnosed with disease that can be treated successfully with a marrow stem cell transplant. If lucky, they find a donor within their family. But for the 70% who are without a match, the only hope is the generosity of strangers. Until recently, most transplants came from bone marrow and blood donors. But even then, not everyone can find that miracle match.
Cord blood collection is a safe and simple procedure. Umbilical cord blood, left over after the birth of a baby, is normally thrown away. This blood is rich in stem cells that can improve the health of a patient suffering from one of more than 70 diseases.
Cord blood can be donated at no cost to you. You can donate your cord blood to a public cord blood bank. It will be processed, tested, frozen and stored. Public cord blood is made available to patients anywhere in the world through the National Marrow Donor Program and other international networks. When a donor is needed, the cord blood is quickly shipped to the patient for transplant without delay. Cord blood transplants save lives. The goal of the National Marrow Donor Program is to provide donation for 10,000 patients by 2015. Most of these patients have leukemia, lymphoma, or other blood disorders.
Cord blood can help ethnic minorities. A person's blood stem cell type is inherited, just like our skin and eye color. That means that a patient is more likely to find a matched donor from within their own ethnic group. Patients of African, Asian, Hispanic and Native American Indian background have a harder time finding a matched donor. Many die waiting. By focusing on the collection and storage of cord blood from ethnic minorities, many present and future patients will be helped.
Due to the special nature of cord blood cells, a perfect match is not needed.
Cord Blood Facts & Figures
Advantages of Cord Blood
- Each year more than 10,000 patients are diagnosed with diseases that are treatable only with a blood stem cell transplant from an unrelated donor.
- Less than 4,000 patients found a donor and had a transplant in 2007.
- Cord blood donation can fill the need for donors – 26% of all transplants in 2007 were from donated cord blood.
- Minority patients have a harder time finding a matched donor. They can benefit from a cord blood donation from a public bank.
- Umbilical cord blood donations are NOT related to embryonic stem cells.
How You Can Participate
- Cord blood collection is easy and risk-free for both mother and baby.
- Public cord blood donation is free.
- Cord blood that is collected, tested and stored is ready to use when a patient needs it.
- Cord blood can help MORE minority patients because it doesn't require a perfect match.
- Cord blood recipients are at a lower risk for certain complications.
- Cord blood is important in medical research and will play an even more vital role in the future.
Through this program, cord blood will be collected by the Rhode Island Blood Center staff who will be at Women & Infants Hospital during the day Monday through Friday. In addition, some obstetricians may participate in the collection program. If you are interested in donating your cord blood, please call 401-248-5768 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
for more information.