Mothers who deliver their babies at DeKalb Medical have a unique opportunity to make an umbilical cord blood donation that could help patients worldwide. Each year, thousands of patients are diagnosed with diseases that potentially can be treated with a blood stem cell transplant. Traditionally, these stem cells have come from bone marrow donation but an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 patients are unable to find a donor that is a sufficiently close match among the millions of volunteer donors listed by registries around the world. Cord blood stem cells, used to treat patients suffering from more than 80 blood diseases and immune system disorders, may in some cases be another option.
As one of the only Georgia hospitals to offer free umbilical cord blood donation, DeKalb Medical partners with New York Blood Center’s National Cord Blood Program, the first and largest public cord blood bank, to collect umbilical cord blood following childbirth. Umbilical cord blood, also referred to as cord blood, is blood that provides sustenance to the developing baby before birth and is typically discarded as medical waste after delivery. Take a moment to see why other parents have opted to share their baby's cord blood.
Minutes after a child’s birth and after the umbilical cord is cut, the placenta and its attached portion of the cord are delivered. With maternal consent to collect the cord blood, our staff moves the placenta to an adjacent laboratory, where they collect the cord blood. Because the cord blood is collected after the placenta is delivered and removed, the collection process does not pose a risk to mother or child.
Presently the inventory of cord blood units does not reflect the ethnic diversity of our communities and there is a national effort underway to increase cord blood donations from minority populations. Unlike costly private donations that only are available to the donor family, cord blood donations at DeKalb Medical will be available to patients in the general public who qualify for a stem cell transplant.
“DeKalb Medical can truly make a difference,” said DeKalb Cord Blood Program Medical Director Dr. Leslie Pope. “With Atlanta’s richly diverse population and the generosity of our mothers, we will be contributing to a national inventory that can help minority patients find suitable matches for transplantation.”
As cord blood banking continues to grow and advances in treating and averting life-threatening diseases are made, DeKalb Medical and the mothers who donate their cord blood will be helping meet the needs of patients worldwide. For more information on cord blood donation, visit the National Cord Blood Program here.