This Sunday, Mother’s Day, families nationwide will honor the women who gave them the greatest gift a person can receive: life.
However, many are not aware that a child’s birth can signify new life in more than one way. Birth can be a lifeline for thousands of people with diseases such as leukemia and lymphoma. Umbilical cord blood, like marrow, is rich in blood-forming cells that can be used to treat many life-threatening diseases. Many patients depend on the generosity of mothers who donate their babies’ cord blood to a public cord blood bank. This way, the cord blood can become a potentially life-saving treatment option for a patient.
Cord blood donation is available for local expectant moms delivering at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange. CHOC Children’s Cord Blood bank is especially in need of donated cord blood from babies whose parents are of diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds. For more information, contact the CHOC Children’s Cord Blood Bank at firstname.lastname@example.org or (714) 509-4335.
There is no cost to donate to a public cord blood bank and it is completely safe for both mother and baby. Cord blood is collected immediately after a baby is born and does not interfere with labor or delivery in any way.
Donated cord blood is listed on the Be The Match Registry, operated by the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP), where it is made available to any patient in need of a transplant. The Be The Match Registry is the world’s largest listing of potential marrow donors and donated cord blood units. Over the past 25 years, the NMDP and Be The Match have made more than 55,000 marrow and cord blood transplants possible. Additional information can be found at BeTheMatch.org/cord.
More patients may find a suitable match outside of their families because cord blood tissue types do not need to match as closely as marrow for a successful transplant. However, patients are more likely to match someone who shares their heritage, hence the call for donations from diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds.
Cord blood is particularly useful for those patients who need a transplant performed quickly because donations are stored and readily available. Despite its potential, most cord blood is discarded. More donations mean more patients can get the transplant they need.
Nothing else that offers so much hope comes with so little effort. In honor of this Mother’s Day, expectant moms are encouraged to give the gift of hope by choosing to donate their baby’s cord blood.