Cord Blood Stem Cell Donation Can Make Your Baby a Superhero

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Umbilical cord blood from newborn babies can save the lives of critically ill patients, treating up to 70 different diseases. Unlike the ethical issues that surround embryonic stem cell research, stem cells from live-birth cord blood donation are collected from an umbilical cord that would otherwise be thrown away, so there are no moral dilemmas.

Your baby's umbilical cord blood could save the life of a critically-ill patient suffering from leukemia, lymphoma or more than 70 other diseases.

Cord blood donation requires simple, advanced preparation, and the obstetrician must act immediately after the umbilical cord is clamped and cut. Fortunately, the donated blood is withdrawn from the umbilical cord after it is detached, so there is no discomfort for the mother or baby.

Yet, most delivery room doctors discard life-saving cord blood as medical waste, even though cord blood donation is desperately needed by tens of thousands of people who have life-threatening illnesses.

The need for cord blood donation from ethnic minorities (African-American, Asians, Hawaiians, Hispanics, Latinos, Native Americans and mixed races) is especially critical, because there are not enough suitable donations from these populations, and there is greater variation among tissue types in many minorities, which makes it more difficult to find a suitable match.

The blood in an umbilical cord consists of stem cells that can "transform" into various types of healthy cell tissue. That tissue may be a treatment for many serious illnesses, including leukemia and other cancers, sickle cell disease, brain tumors and osteoporosis. In the future, stem cells from donated cord blood may also be used to treat Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and diabetes.

Although some ill patients 'match' with a family member who can donate stem cells that are suitable for their treatment, nearly 75 percent of patients are not so fortunate. Cord blood donations can give these critically-ill patients a much better chance of finding stem cells that match their tissue type.

According to Michael Organ, executive director of Charity Guide, "Stem cell research has given the miracle of birth a whole new meaning: A newly delivered infant has the potential to save the life of another human being, just by donating umbilical cord blood that would otherwise be thrown away."

For expectant mothers who wish to donate their baby's cord blood to a public cord blood bank, Charity Guide provides step-by-step "how to" instructions at http://www.charityguide.org/volunteer/fewhours/cord-blood-donation.htm

Unlike the ethical issues that surround embryonic stem cell research, stem cells from live-birth cord blood are collected from an umbilical cord that would otherwise be thrown away, so there are no moral dilemmas.

About Charity Guide:

Charity Guide is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting flexible volunteerism, by inspiring and facilitating acts of kindness. CharityGuide.org features volunteer service projects that can be accomplished in 15 minutes, a few hours or during volunteer vacations. Causes supported include: animal welfare, children's issues, community development, environmental protection, health & safety, poverty & homelessness, and random acts of kindness.

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