What You Need to Know About Cord Blood Banking

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Cord blood is the blood in the blood contained in the umbilical cord during the pregnancy. It was usually thrown out at bio waste is now being donated after the discovery that the stem cells it contains are medically valuable. They can help repair tissue, organs, and blood vessels, which means they can be used to treat autism, brain injury, Thalassemia, and more. For a full list of illness it can be used for visit Parentsguidecordblood.org.
The collection process is simple. After delivery, the umbilical cord is clamped and cut as usual. Your doctor will then stick a needle in and drain the blood into a collection bag, which will then be shipped to the blood bank. It only takes about 10 minutes to collect the blood and most new mothers don’t even feel it.
To donate, you first need to research cord blood banks to ensure that you choose the right one for you. Do this as early as possible, as most banks require you to apply between your 28th and 34th week so you should have one chosen before then. Find out whether each prospective cord blood bank participates with your hospital, uses a shipping method that keeps the blood at a steady temperature, and is voluntarily accredited by AABB (Advancing Transfusion and Cellular Therapies Worldwide) or FACT (Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy. Parentsguidecordblood.org also has a great Cord Blood Bank Directory you can use as a resource
When you have chosen a cord blood bank, contact them (between your 28th and 34th weeks of pregnancy) to sign up. Although every blood bank has different requirements, Cordbloodbanking.com lists the following as typical requirements for donating cord blood:
For the Mother:
  • 18 or older
  • Not a blood relative of the father
  • Delivering baby in the continental U.S
  • No tattoos or piercing in the last 12 months
  • Have not been diagnosed with cancer
  • Have not been diagnosed with Hepatitis or HIV 
  • Have not contracted syphilis in the last 12 months
  • Have not contracted malaria in the last 3 years
  • Have not had a blood disease
  • Have not received red cell or transfusion support
  • Have not been exposed to Hepatitis, HIV, AIDS, West Nile Virus, or Tuberculosis
  • Have not been in contact with anyone with a smallpox vaccine during pregnancy
  • Have not used a need for non-prescription drugs
  • Have not had chemotherapy
  • You, your child’s father, and any additional children have not had cancer
For the Baby:
  • Does not have any fetal abnormalities
  • Is a single birth (not a twin, triplet, etc
Once you have signed up to donate, completed the required health exam, and notified your doctor (and midwife, if applicable) that you intend to donate, your part is done. When you give birth, your doctor will take care of collecting and shipping your donation and the cord blood bank will test it and store it. You can then leave the delivery room knowing that you may have just helped save someone’s life.

By: Alecia Stanton

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