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 lives?

Umbilical cord blood contains blood-forming stem cells, which can renew themselves and differentiate into other types of cells. Stem cells are used in transplants for patients with cancers like leukemia and lymphoma. Cord Blood can be used to treat over 80 other life- threatening diseases. You can read more about diseases that cord blood can treat.

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

Donating your baby’s cord blood does not change your delivery. It is simple, safe, and at no cost to you. Umbilical cord blood may offer a precious resource to a patient in need of a life- saving stem cell transplant. Many people are not able to find a suitable bone marrow donor on the Be The Match Registry®, and rely on alternatives like umbilical cord blood for their treatment.

There is no cost to donate cord blood, and in the event you have a family member in need of stem cell transplant and your donation had not been used, it would be available to you.

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?

Unless donated, the placenta, umbilical cord, and stem cells they contain 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 after the cord blood is collected?

The Brigham and Women’s Cord Blood Donation Coordinators process and ship your baby’s cord blood to our affiliated public bank, the Carolinas Cord Blood Bank, where it is available to be matched through the Be The Match® Registry to patients around the world. If there is not enough cord blood collected, or not enough stem cells for use in transplant, may also be used in life saving research.

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