Cord Blood Donation Eligibility

Who can donate cord blood with the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Cord Blood Donation Program?

Eligibility guidelines for expectant mothers who plan to donate their babies’ cord blood exist to help ensure that the strict quality standards of the NMDP cord blood banks are met.

  • A health history will be conducted including infectious disease markers screening. Expectant mothers must be at least 18 years of age. Other eligibility considerations include:
  • If you have, or are at risk for, HIV/AIDS, you cannot become a cord blood donor.
  • 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.
  • If you have medication-dependent diabetes, you may not be eligible to donate. Women with gestational diabetes are usually eligible to donate, but please discuss this with the cord blood collection representative.
  • If you have positive Hepatitis B surface antigen or Hepatitis C, you are not eligible to donate. If you have other history of hepatitis, please discuss with your cord blood collection representative. You may still be eligible if you have received the hepatitis vaccine.
  • If you had malaria more than three years ago, you are eligible. If you have finished a full course of antimalarial drugs more than six months ago, you are eligible to donate.
  • 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.
    Any history of sexually transmitted disease within the last 12 months will need to be evaluated by the program.
  • If you have received any tattoos with the last 12 months, your tattoo history will need to be evaluated by the program.
  • Ear, skin, and body piercing timing will need to be evaluated by the program.

Am I eligible to donate if I’m having twins?

The NMDP public banks, which Brigham and Women’s Hospital Cord Blood Donation Program is affiliated with, cannot accept donations if you are having twins. Tissue types are used to match a cord blood unit to a patient and there could be a possibility of mixing or confusing the tissue types of the two umbilical cords.

What criteria must a cord blood unit meet in order to be added to the NMDP Registry?

When cord blood meets standards, it is listed on the NMDP Registry. These include:

  • The cord blood unit must be large enough (i.e., contain enough blood-forming cells);
  • The mother’s history must meet eligibility guidelines; and
  • The cord blood unit and mother’s blood sample must show no signs of infection or other medical concerns.

Is there any cost to me?

No.

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