Is Umbilical Cord Blood Donation Right For You?

This post is brought to you by South Texas Blood & Tissue.

July is Cord Blood Awareness Month, but many moms and expecting moms may not know what “cord blood” means. But for Valentina DeLeon’s family, umbilical cord blood means everything.

After she was born with a rare immune system disorder, there were few treatment options for Valentina: either a bone marrow transplant or a cord blood transplant. Thankfully a match was found for Valentina that came from the umbilical cord of a newborn baby, who may never know the full impact of their donation. Thanks to that donation and that family, Valentina has been able to grow up into a healthy 13-year-old.

What is cord blood?

⦁ The blood that remains in your baby’s umbilical cord after birth
⦁ A rich source of stem cells that can be used for patients with a blood disease to replace their “bad blood” with healthy blood cells

Why donate?

⦁ Private cord blood banks allow parents to store their baby’s umbilical cord blood for a fee, saving it for the worst-case scenario that their child may need it later.
⦁ Donation means your baby’s cord blood can go to a patient who may already have a life-threatening disease and be in desperate need of a stem cell transplant, at no cost to you.

What does donation look like?

⦁ After a healthy delivery, your doctors or nurses will take the cord blood out of the umbilical cord and send it to the Texas Cord Blood Bank, a program of South Texas Blood & Tissue.
⦁ Donation does not affect the normal delivery process.

Who needs a cord blood transplant?

⦁ If there are enough stem cells in the donated cord blood, it is placed on the National Marrow Donor Program, or Be the Match, registry. These donations are waiting for a patient who needs a potential “match,” someone with the same genetic markers.
⦁ In order to receive a transplant, a patient needs cord blood from a donor who has the same genetic markers of the immune system—which is inherited from one’s racial or ethnic background.
⦁ Adding more donors from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds increases the likelihood patients will find the match they need.
⦁ If not enough stem cells are collected, the donation may be used for research into medical treatments or therapies.
⦁ The Texas Cord Blood Bank will store cord blood units for up to 28 years or until a match is found.

Will you consider cord blood donation?

Visit SouthTexasBlood.org/CordBlood for more information and to find participating hospitals. Let your doctor know if you are interested in donating cord blood.
Alamo City Moms is written by a collaborative and diverse group of mothers. We strive to provide moms with relevant, timely and fun information about all things mom here in the greater San Antonio area.