It’s a decision that every parent should take very seriously, since there is only one chance at birth to save these precious cells.
That’s the message that Save the Cord Foundation wants to share with expectant parents and the public. The stem cells found in the umbilical cord, placenta and cord tissue are uncontroversial and can be used to treat over 80 life-threatening diseases such as sickle cell anemia and many blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma.
Privately banked or the child’s own cord blood is being used for to treat children with cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury and juvenile diabetes. Umbilical cord blood can be publicly donated to save a life, privately banked as a medical resource for the child, sibling or family member in need, or donated for research. Neither mother nor child is harmed in this painless collection and cord blood is free of political, religious, ethical or moral issues.
“The stem cells found in the umbilical cord, placenta and cord tissue are uncontroversial and can be used to treat over 80 life-threatening diseases such as sickle cell anemia and many blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma.”
Small price to pay
Only a small percentage of the cord blood is saved from the 4 million births in the U.S. each year. The vast majority is thrown away as medical waste at birth due to a lack of education and information for the expectant parent. Save The Cord Foundation wants to keep this important decision as simple as possible by providing unbiased educational information regarding cord blood banking and donation to expectant parents and the public. When expectant parents are informed with the facts and potential medical benefit of saving umbilical cord blood, they can make their own educated decision that will reflect what’s best for their child, family and community.
Private banking and public donation of your baby’s cord blood are both equally important. There are scores of private and hybrid banks (banks both private and public) across our nation and around the world that will bank your newborn’s umbilical cord blood, placental cells, and cord blood tissue to be used exclusively for the child, a sibling in need and family. Many young parents don’t have the finances to privately bank and choose to donate their newborns cord blood to be used for a lifesaving transplant. Many private and hybrid banks now offer expectant parents, cord blood and tissue baby shower programs, where family, friends and coworkers can donate as little or as much to help expectant parents realize their goal of saving their newborn’s cord blood as a future family medical resource.
Gift of life
Public donation is always free. Unfortunately there are few public donation hospitals available and most physicians, midwives and birth educators only have access to private banking information, leaving little to offer expectant parents who wish to give life twice by donating their newborns cells. To find out your options for private and public donation you can visit www.savethecordfoundation.org or Be The Match.
“Many young parents don’t have the finances to privately bank and choose to donate their newborns cord blood to be used for a lifesaving transplant.”
The Be the Match registry is responsible for matching patients in need with donated umbilical cord blood units and helping to facilitate their life saving transplant. A Caucasian patient in need of a cord blood transplant has a 90 percent chance of finding a match, but patients of minority or blended ethnicity are dramatically underrepresented and have less than 40 percent chance of finding a match. About 40 percent of patients searching for a lifesaving transplant are of ethnic minority. Be the Match makes it possible for more patients of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds to find and receive a cord blood transplant. Seven out of 10 patients in need of a transplant will not have a suitable matched donor in their family. Patients looking for a transplant are most likely to match a donor of their own ethnicity or race.
Save the Cord Foundation’s vision is to make cord blood education and awareness universal and available to all expectant parents and the public, so they can make their own informed decision on whether to privately bank or publicly donate. Save the Cord Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit located in Tucson Arizona, is a powerful national and global voice that advocates for cord blood education, awareness and research. Every cord saved can save or change a life.
Charis Ober, Founder, Save the Cord
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