July is Cord Blood Awareness Month

In recognition of Cord Blood Awareness Month, check out these frequently asked questions about donating umbilical cord blood, which can give someone with a life-threatening disease another chance at life.

 

The CHOC Children’s Cord Blood Bank
Parents have the opportunity to donate umbilical cord blood to the Cord Blood Bank at CHOC Children’s, the only center of its kind in Orange County. Cord blood collected by CHOC’s blood bank becomes listed in the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) database.  The cord blood becomes available to anyone, world-wide, who is in need of a life-saving transplant.

 

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
The Cord Blood bank team at CHOC Children’s offers the following information for parents considering donating cord blood.

What is cord blood?
Umbilical cord blood is the blood that remains in the placenta and the umbilical cord following birth, and is typically discarded. Cord blood banking saves the blood from the umbilical cord, which contains cells that can repair and restore an immune system. The umbilical cord is rich in blood stem cells, and can be used in transplantation for life-threatening diseases such as leukemia, as well as immune, metabolic and genetic diseases. According to the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP), seven out of 10 patients have to look outside their families for donors because there are not suitably matched persons in their families.

When is the cord blood collected?
The cord blood is collected immediately following the birth of your baby.  The cord will be cut and clamped. When the placenta is delivered, the umbilical cord and placenta are both collected by a Cord Blood Bank staff member.

Does donating cord blood affect my birthing process?
No.  The collection of cord blood will not change the birthing process in any way.  Blood will not be taken from your baby.  The collection procedure is non-invasive and completely safe for both you and your baby.

What else is required of me?
Following delivery, within 48 hours, a staff member from the CHOC Cord Blood Bank will visit you to complete an informed consent, medical history screening and collect a blood sample from your arm for infectious disease testing to ensure that the donated cord blood is as safe as possible to the recipient.

Is there any cost for donation?
No.  There is no cost to you or your insurance company.  Funding for the CHOC Cord Blood Bank is provided by private donations.

Can I keep the cord blood for my child or family?
For a fee, the CHOC Cord Blood Bank does offer a “directed” service where it collects and stores your baby’s cord blood specifically for your child, his sibling, or another family member. The service includes the cord blood collection, cord blood processing, testing for contamination and infectious diseases, freezing of the processed cord blood, and storage for 18 years.

To Learn More
If you decide to donate, the next step is to call the CHOC Cord Blood Bank at 714-509-4335. The team will review the program with you and answer any questions you have.

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