DIFFERENT TYPES OF STEM CELLS
CORD BLOOD DONATIONS
Everyday, we receive calls from members of the public interested in donating cord blood but are not quite sure how to do it. This section is meant to help people better understand cord blood donations.
Cord blood is the blood that remains in the placenta and umbilical cord following the birth of your baby. After your baby is born the placenta (and all the cord blood in it) is normally thrown away, although it is rich in blood stem cells that can be used to treat many different cancers and immune deficiencies.
The collection of cord blood is completely safe for both mother and baby as the collection is made AFTER the baby is born, AFTER the cord is cut and AFTER the placenta has been delivered. Donating cord blood is free and yet it can potentially save the lives of people affected by serious conditions like malignancies, bone marrow failure, immunodeficiencies and metabolic disorders.
PRIVATE OR PUBLIC?
When considering donating cord blood it is important to understand the difference between private and public facilities.
Publicly or government funded facilities, such as the NHS Cord Blood Bank and the Anthony Nolan Cord Blood Bank, collect cord blood from public hospitals, free of charge to the donor. The product is then stored indefinitely for possible transplant. This unit is available for any patient that needs this particular special tissue type. There is no charge to the donor but the product is not stored specifically for that person or their family.
Private facilities, on the other hand, allow the donors to store their cord blood (upon paying a registration and an annual fee) in case a family member becomes sick with a stem cell-treatable disease in the future. It is important to point out that the chances of ever needing a cord blood transplant are very slim.
If you require more information on cord blood donation, we encourage you to visit the NHS Cord Blood Bank website, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists or the Anthony Nolan Trust. Anthony Nolan collects cord blood from consenting mothers in an expanding group of NHS maternity hospitals (currently in London, Birmingham and Leicester), which can then be used for lifesaving transplants for patients suffering from leukaemia and other serious blood disorders.