Donating Your Baby's Cord Blood

Overview of Eligibility to Donate Cord Blood

The BWH Cord Blood Donation Program follows the strict quality standards of the National Marrow Donor Program. Eligibility guidelines help to ensure that you will be able to donate at the time of your delivery.

To donate you must be age 18 or older. Eligibility criteria includes:

  • AIDS: if you have, or are at risk for, HIV/AIDS, you cannot become a cord blood donor.
  • Cancer: If you have had cured local skin cancer (only simple basal cell or squamous cell) or cervical cancer, you may be eligible to donate. All other forms of cancer make you ineligible to donate cord blood.
  • Diabetes: If you have medication-dependent diabetes, you may not be eligible to donate. Women with gestational diabetes are usually able to donate, but please discuss this with the cord blood collection representative.
  • Hepatitis: If you have positive Hepatitis B surface antigens, or Hepatitis C, you are not eligible to donate. If you have other history of Hepatitis, please discuss with your cord blood collection representative.
  • Malaria: If you had malaria more than three years ago, you are eligible to donate. If you have finished a full course of antimalarial drugs more than six month ago, then you are eligible to donate.
  • Organ or tissue transplant: If you have received a heart, lung, kidney, bone marrow, or other organ or tissue transplant, then you are not eligible to donate cord blood.
  • Sexually transmitted diseases: Any history of sexually transmitted disease within the last 12 months will need to be evaluated by the program.
  • Tattoos: If you have received any tattoos within the last twelve months, your tattoo history will need to be evaluated by the program.
  • Piercings: Ear, skin, and body piercing timing will need to be evaluated by the program.

Visit the FAQs section for common questions about eligibility. If you have any questions about your eligibility, contact at the Cord Blood Donation Program.

What to expect

When you arrive at the hospital, let the delivery team know that you are donating umbilical cord blood. The Cord Blood Donation Program staff will be notified to confirm your consent.

Donating cord blood will not change your labor or delivery. During this time, all the focus is on you and your baby.

After the birth of your baby, the medical staff delivers the placenta and umbilical cord normally. Then the cord and placenta are given to the Cord Blood Donation Program to process the stem cells.


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