Thursday, January 29, 2009

Day 29: Donate cord blood

According to the National Marrow Donor Program, with a little bit of planning, you could change someone’s life: You could donate your baby’s umbilical cord blood to a public bank at no cost to you. Umbilical cord blood is rich with blood-forming cells, which are no longer needed by your baby after delivery. But these cells may be needed by someone else — someone with leukemia or lymphoma who needs a transplant to survive.

Before your 34th week of pregnancy, talk to your doctor to find out if your hospital accepts donated cord blood. Then contact the public cord blood bank that works with your hospital. The cord blood bank will confirm if you are eligible to donate and give you a consent form and health questionnaire to complete.

After your baby is delivered the umbilical cord is clamped and blood from the umbilical cord and placenta is collected into a sterile bag, given an identification number and stored temporarily. This collected blood is called a cord blood unit. After testing, the blood is sent to the cord bank.