Human Development

Donating Umbilical Cord Blood for its Stem Cells: A Journal of How To Make a Difference

I was thrilled beyond words when my pregnancy test was positive.  My first thoughts were to tell all my family:  my six year old daughter first, I wanted her to tell her daddy; then our two year old and then the rest of our family.  My second thought – I want to donate the cord blood.  And then all the millions of other thoughts that come when you find out that you are expecting.

I had read about storing the umbilical cord blood when I was expecting my second daughter

I had seen advertisements in baby magazines about private cord blood storage.  These companies charge a fee to store the umbilical cord blood so you can have access to the cord blood if you or a family member ever needs to use the blood for treatment. 

I had heard through the pro-life group at my church that studies where having great results with stem cells from umbilical cord blood and I knew there must be a way for me to donate the cord blood.  I asked the director of our pro-life group for some suggestions and she recommended checking with the National Marrow Registry (www.marrow.org), searching the web, and then the Better Business Bureau.

I began by searching the web for public cord blood banks.  Public banks store the cord blood without charge; if other people need the blood and it is a match, some of the cord blood is provided to them. More than likely, enough will still be available for your own family if the need should arise.

I kept running across the name Cryobanks International even on the marrow registry.  So I checked out their website (http://www.cryo-intl.com/). I called the toll free number and spoke with the staff.  At this time I was only about 8 weeks pregnant.  They informed me that I needed to be 20 weeks before I completed the forms and returned them. I thought that they were going to mail the forms to me so I waited until 24 weeks to call them back. 

Organizations Offering Pregnant Mothers an Easy Way

to Donate Their Babies' Umbilical Cord Blood

http://www.marrow.org/DONOR/index.html#cb 

When I called back they said they could mail them or I could print them offline.  I chose to print them that day.  I filled them out and took them to my next doctor's appointment.  The doctor signed the forms and I mailed them.  In a few days the staff called to let me know they had reviewed the forms and to verify that I had filled them out myself. 

They told me to expect the collection kit around my 32nd week.

When I received the kit, an 8x10x2 box, I took it to my doctor for her to look over.  She said everything seemed in order and easy to follow.  Part of the kit cannot be opened until the blood is ready to be collected.

I kept the kit in my hospital bag as the anticipation grew.  I ended up having to be induced so we had no problem making sure we had the kit with us at delivery time. 

My husband called to let the Cryobanks staff know we were at the hospital.  They reminded him to call within two hours after the blood was collected and they would send a courier to the hospital to pick up the kit.

After our precious little boy was born the doctor collected the cord blood. This took about 2 to 3 minutes.  The kit included everything the doctor needed along with specific instructions. 

Included in the instructions was the fact that the volume of blood was of great importance.  When the doctor weighed the blood she had collected we did not have enough volume.  She called just to verify the required amount and the staff informed her that it wasn't unusual to not have enough and that is something you can not control and will not know until you try.

I was a little disappointed that I could not send at least what we had, but I understand they must have enough to process and store or use for research and treatments.  There is always next time.  Yes, I will try to donate again if I am given the opportunity. 

The chance to make such a difference in the lives of those with sicknesses or diseases took so little of my time.  I will gladly give another fifteen or twenty minutes to try and make a difference, to make someone's life a little better.

K.A., 10/06

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Bank Baby’s Life-Saving Cord Blood – A small plastic pouch filled with less than 100cc of frozen blood taken from the umbilical cord of a newborn baby contains the stem cells that could not only save the life of the baby sometime during his lifetime, but could also save the life of a close family member.

 

In the case of Chris and John Hunt of Libertyville, IL, the frozen blood taken at birth from the umbilical cord of Haley, their seventh child, could be used to save the life of John’s brother, Pat Hunt, if his Hodgkins lymphoma returns.

(Pioneer Press, 5/23/02)

 

Awareness that cord blood can be collected and preserved as biological insurance against a future serious medical problem has resulted in the establishment of a growing number of cord blood banking and research facilities.

 

Among them are:

The Cord Blood Donor Foundationwww.cordblooddonor.org.

The Cord Blood Registrywww.cordblood.com

National Marrow Donor Programwww.bonemarrow.org

Viacordwww.viacord.com

Coalition of Americans for Ethical Researchwww.stemcellresearch.org **

 

** RNC/Life is not recommending these institutions, but simply making you aware of their existence so that you can do your own research and reach your own conclusions.

“. . . Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness . . .”

 

If left unfettered, the American way of life as envisioned by the Founders will enable free men and women to find the answers to the problems that face us, and in so doing, benefit not only Americans but people throughout the world.