The donation of your baby's blood from the umbilical cord and placenta may mean saving the life of someone suffering from leukaemia, lymphoma, and even certain tumours. Researchers have learned that transplanting this blood that is high in stem cells to a sufferer of these diseases provides the best chance for a cure.
The field of cord blood donation is relatively new and only a few hospitals are able to provide the service of collecting the blood from your placenta and your baby's umbilical cord. You will need to check if the hospital or birth centre you have chosen to deliver your baby participates in the programme.
If you wish to consider being a cord blood donor you will need to make this decision well in advance of your expected date for delivery. It is recommended that you advise your doctor by your 34th week so he or she can make the arrangements with a Cord Blood bank facility. You will be asked to fill out a health history questionnaire and provide a small blood sample to check for infectious diseases. You will also be asked to sign a consent form to confirm your intention to donate.
The blood is collected from your placenta and umbilical cord immediately after the birth of your baby. If you choose not to participate in the donation programme the placenta and umbilical cord will be discarded as waste.
There are some companies that provide private storage systems for your own personal use should you need it in the future. Speak to your doctor regarding this option.
For more information regarding the Cord Blood Banking Facility see:
Cryo-Save Stem Cell Bank