So Who Wants Your Cord Blood?

The miracle of birth can also save a life. Did you know that moms and newborns can help critically ill people by donating cord blood?

What is cord blood?

Blood in the umbilical cord consists of stem cells that can be used to treat life-threatening illnesses such as leukemia and other forms of cancer, sickle cell disease, and more. Unfortunately, most cord blood is discarded immediately after birth.

Who needs cord blood?

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, every year almost 15,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses where a bone marrow transplant or cord blood transplant from a matched donor is their best treatment option.

Tissue type is inherited and a matching donor is essential to successful treatment. Only 30 percent of patients will have a relative who is a match and able to donate. The need for minority race donors is great, with a particular need for multi-racial donors.

How is cord blood donated?

The process of donating cord blood hasn’t been easy. Private cord-blood banks charge hefty fees to store cord blood to be used only by the donor’s family. There are also 19 public banks that are open for anyone who is a close match, but there are only approximately 175 affiliated hospitals that have a system in place to collect and transfer the cord blood.

Cord blood donation requires advance preparation, and the obstetrician must act immediately after the umbilical cord is clamped and cut. Blood is drawn after the cord is detached, so there is no discomfort for mother or baby.

The blood is checked to make sure it has enough blood-forming cells for transplant and is free from contamination. If it is, it will be frozen and stored until a matching recipient is found. If not, it may also be used for research.

Be the Match

Be the Match is the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) that provides an opportunity for everyone to get involved in saving the lives of people with leukemia, lymphoma, and other life-threatening diseases. Be the Match is the world’s largest and most diverse listing of potential marrow donors and donated cord blood units.

View the video from Be The Match: Babies Are Amazing



Time reports on a new federal program, Public Kit Donation, that will allow cord blood to be mailed in from anywhere in the U.S. The program offers a kit for expectant mothers who request one, and also teaches doctors how to use it. There is no charge to donate and the cost of collection, processing, and storage is being shared by the government and the cord banks. When a match is made, fees are paid by the recipient or their health insurer.

Those who are interested in donating cord blood to a participating public bank may contact the Carolinas Cord Blood Bank Public Kit Collection Program by calling 919-668-2071 (daytime only). To reach the Texas Cord Blood Bank coordinator, dial 800-292-5534; option 7.

Participants must inform their physician or midwife of their intention to donate through the kit program, and the physician or midwife must successfully complete an online training and certification in cord blood collection.

Participating moms will be sent a kit prior to their due date and will take the kit to the hospital upon admission for delivery. The doctor or midwife will collect the cord blood after the baby is born. The cord blood must be packed and shipped back to one of the three participating sites and must be received within 40 hours of the infant’s delivery.

Further information on Cord Blood Donation

Related reading on Care2

Image used courtesy


Sonny Honrado
Sonny Honrado7 years ago

Thanks for the info. This may be beneficial to others if preserved well.

Joyce K.
Joyce Keyes7 years ago

when you donate you are doing a good thing for others. However if you ever need that cord blood for a family member you are not promised to get it. when you bank privately you have that at your disposal forever. Yes it can be costly , but any insurance is. Check out this non-commercial website with tons of info on cord blood companies, private and public, and also has pricing : It lists private cord blood banks that are FDA approved and AABB accredited , as well as info on donating to a public bank. See banks that have free annual storage for the whole 20 years.

Walter G.
Walter G7 years ago

Has someone been keeping this a secret?

Joanna M.
Joanna M7 years ago

Thanks for sharing the info on this new program. When my son was born in 2007, I couldn't afford to bank the cord blood, so I tried to donate it. My hospital did not participate ina donation program, so I was told I could do this, but it would have to be at my own expense. I did not have a lot of money, so I wasn't able to do this. I'm glad that the new program is in place...

Beng Kiat Low
low beng kiat7 years ago


Kathy Javens
Kathy Javens7 years ago

Even though I am no longer able to have children I still voted yes. Simply because,if I can help save someones life,and that is what is needed then I would do so. It`s part of human nature to help and care for one another. Peace to all:)

cathryn r.
cathryn r7 years ago

i voted 'no'... i feel that, while i support charity, and give - i want to choose my charities. i don't want to be forced to contribute to something, or someone i don't want. and while giving money, or time is something that's, at times, easy, giving a part of one's self is difficult. i truly believe that we should have to opt in for donating blood, tissue, and other body parts. i feel that cordblood is just an extension of that. yes, it MIGHT 'save a life'... but whose? not mine. not my family's. and, i'm not sorry, but those are my first priorities. you do noone any good if you sacrifice your own needs for some stranger. if i were to KNOW that my family wouldn't need it... and that i wouldn't need it, AND if i could know who would, then i'd be more inclined to give of my own body. blind donation, as we presently have, is something i don't support. alcoholics who destroy their livers, and get a transplant, are an affront. if i'm going to 'save someone's life' then allow me to make a conscious decision, and be a part of that decision making tree.

Laurie H.
Laurie H7 years ago

So much available now that science has to offer us! What a great way to help people-interesting information-thank you!~

Patricia S.
Pat S7 years ago

Mary L,
What does the tea party have to do with this article? You just had to get something in on them, didn't you? You poor sick lady!

Sheba tn
Sheba tn7 years ago

very informative,ty