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Value of Umbilical Cord Blood Cells

Why should I donate my baby's umbilical cord blood?

Donating your baby’s umbilical cord blood may offer a precious resource to a patient in need of a life-saving stem cell transplant.

How does umbilical cord blood help save a life?

Umbilical cord blood is rich in the blood-forming (hematopoietic) stem cells, which can renew themselves and differentiate into other types of cells. Stem cells are used in transplants for patients with leukemia, lymphoma, and other life-threatening diseases.

After your baby is born, these cord blood cells can be collected, preserved and later used as a source of stem cells for transplantation.

Are umbilical cord blood cells the same as embryonic stem cells?

No. Umbilical cord blood cells are taken from the umbilical cord (and placenta) after a baby is born, not from an embryo.

If I don’t donate my baby’s umbilical cord blood, what happens to it?

After delivery, the umbilical cord and placenta are no longer needed. Unless donated, the umbilical cord and stem cells it contains are discarded as medical waste.

Are there alternatives to cord blood stem cells for patients who need transplants?

Cord blood is one of three sources of cells commonly used in transplant. The other two are bone marrow and peripheral (circulating) blood stem cells (PBSCs) obtained from adult volunteer donors. Learn more about the alternatives.

What happens to my baby’s cord blood after it is collected?

Through Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) Cord Blood Donation Program your baby’s cord blood is donated to a public bank, where it may be found to match any of the patients around the world who search the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) Registry for an available match.


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