Monday, August 18, 2008

Cord Blood Donation

Baby magazines are peppered with advertisements for cord blood banks urging parents to have their babies' cord blood stored. For an average starting cost of $1,800 and yearly fees around $125 a bank will store your little one's umbilical and placental blood-making stem cells. These cells would be retrievable if your child (or perhaps its sibling) develops a life-threatening but treatable-by-stem-cells illness such as leukemia or lymphoma.

I don't know about your family, but I don't think that cord blood banking will be a wise insurance choice for our family, given its expense and the small chance our child(ren) will have of developing one of the applicable diseases.

Today, however, I read about an option that does sound right up our pro-life alley: cord blood donation. An article in an old issue of Focus on the Family magazine (which I love, by the way) shared one mom's decision to donate her sons' cord blood to a public bank for use by any matching patient. Intrigued, I did a little research online.

To donate cord blood the donor parents must complete medical documentation, receive a collection kit and instruct birth attendants in its use, and contact the bank to pick up the donation after the delivery. All free! Read more here:

By the time I skimmed through the basic info and FAQ's, I was convinced. What better way to support a morally acceptable and medically superior alternative to embryonic stem cell research?

Alas, the list of participating hospitals revealed that we will not be able to donate at our hospital - in fact, no Charlotte-area hospitals are participating at this time. Perhaps it's time to do some advocacy with the hospital?


WOOD said...

I think it is very disappointing that there is not an opportunity to donate cord blood in Charlotte too... Seems like such a waste!

However, I also heard (but did not confirm by research) that in order to keep the cord blood (to bank or donate), they have to clamp the cord right away. There are many reasons for not clamping the cord right away and waiting until it stops pulsing on its own, in which case, I believe that cord blood is going right to your baby! So that may be at least some consolation if you can't donate it.

Lillian said...

Frances, Thank you so much for this timely post!!! I was just at my midwive's today and she asked me about cord banking. I told her I had a vague idea that somehwere I had heard about being able to donate to cord banks.

Of course, I didn't come home and look it up. So, thank you for doing that homework for me!! I think we'll be donating!!

Anonymous said...

I am disappointed to find that there were only 3 hospitals in ohio where you could donate. I did find a site online that would courrier the donation from any hospital. They will not accept my application because I am 35 weeks pregnant and they said you have to fill out the app by 34 weeks. It seems like such a waste for one week...I really wanted to help.