July is National Cord Blood Awareness Month
Every day, nearly 11,000 babies in the U.S. are greeted into the world with a snip of the umbilical cord and a friendly wake-up pat. Families make their enthusiastic introductions, while doctors clear the remnants of birth from the delivery area. But what if some of this material could be saved and used to treat certain illnesses and diseases.
That’s the concept behind storing and preserving umbilical cord blood. By saving a sample of blood from the umbilical cord and placenta, doctors are now treating certain blood disorders and genetic diseases, such as leukemia and lymphoma. Because cord blood is rich in blood forming cells, the medical community has begun researching the possibility of using this cord blood in transplants for treatment of other conditions, as well.
Cord blood is collected at birth and stored in sub-zero temperatures, a process known as cryopreservation. The blood can then be potentially used as treatment or even in cord blood transplants.
Parents can opt to store the cord blood should a family member ever need it, or they can register with a Public Cord Blood Bank to provide cord blood donations. Most cord blood banks require that the mother register by the 34th week of pregnancy, and the bank will determine if she meets the medical eligibility guidelines. If the donation meets the size threshold for use in transplants, it can be saved and listed on a transplant registry.
If you’d like to donate your child’s blood to a cord blood bank, you can:
- Find a donation site: A select number of large birthing hospitals in the U.S. accept donations.
- Send your baby’s cord blood to a mail-in donation program.
Sumner Regional Medical Center
555 Hartsville Pike
Gallatin, Tennessee 37066
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