What is cord blood?
Cord blood is blood from your umbilical cord and the placenta. Your placenta is the organ that grows in your uterus while you are pregnant. The umbilical cord connects the placenta to your baby (in the area that will become the baby’s belly button). The placenta and umbilical cord deliver oxygen and nutrients to your baby while you are pregnant. The cells in cord blood can be used to make new blood cells and tissues.
How can my baby’s cord blood help someone else?
Cord blood has cells that help people who need bone marrow transplants due to life-threatening diseases such as leukemia and lymphoma. Cord blood can be helpful for transplant patients from some racial and ethnic groups because is often hard to find good transplant matches for these patients
How does my baby’s cord blood get collected?
After your healthy baby is born, a health care worker will cut the umbilical cord. They will use a needle to take some blood from the cut cord and your placenta. Since the cord will already be cut, it will not be attached to you or your baby when they take the blood. There is no pain involved for you or your baby.
How will my baby’s cord blood be used?
You can decide how your baby’s cord blood will be used. You may choose only 1 of these options.
- Public Cord Blood Banking: You can offer the gift of life to others by choosing to donate your baby’s cord blood for public use. Your cord blood will be stored in a public bank so that it can be transplanted into any patient that is considered a match: not only here in Arkansas, but throughout the world. There is no cost to you because public cord blood banks cover the cost of processing, testing and storing donated cord blood.
- Private Cord Blood Banking: Private banking allows you to store the cord blood for your own family. You are charged a fee for the initial collection plus an annual storage fee. Please contact the Cord Blood Coordinator toll free at 1-855-854-2222 or 501-686-6271 for current rates and fees.
- Research Cord Blood Banking: If you choose this option, you will allow us to use your cord blood for research. Researchers do studies to help improve the transplant process for future patients and find new ways to use the blood cells to help repair damaged organs. As with public cord blood banking, there is no cost to you if you choose this option.
I want to have my baby’s cord blood collected. How do I get started?
To get started you can:
- Call the Cord Blood Coordinator at 1-855-854-2222 (CBBA) or 501-686-6271 between 8:00 – 3:30 Monday through Friday
- Visit www.cordbloodbankarkansas.org
You can sign up at any time during your pregnancy. But, we encourage you to enroll by week 34. This helps ensure that you receive a cord blood collection kit before you have your baby. If you have your baby before you get your collection kit, you will not be able to have your baby’s cord blood collected.
Frequently asked questions:
Why are more cord blood donations needed?
About seven out of 10 people who need cord blood will not have a suitable matched donor in their family. These people will depend on a registry to find a donor. An example of a registry is the Be The Match Registry. This registry is managed by the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP). It helps find matches between patients who need help and the donors who can help. When we add more cord blood to the registry, there is a better chance that more patients will find a match. We have a great need for racially and ethnically diverse donors. Transplant patients are more likely to match with someone who shares their race or ethnicity. More than 1 in 3 cord blood units used in NMDP transplants go to non-Caucasian patients. So, we strongly encourage people from all racial and ethnic groups to donate
Will having my baby’s cord blood collected affect their health?
No. The staff will collect the cord blood after your healthy baby is born. They will do this after the umbilical cord has been clamped and cut. The cord will not be attached to your baby.
Will the collection of my baby’s cord blood change my delivery experience?
No. The cord blood collection will not affect your labor or delivery in any way. They will do this after your healthy baby is born. They only take blood from the umbilical cord and placenta.
If I donate my baby’s cord blood, will you give any of my information to the patient or family that receives my cord blood?
No. We will not give any if your information or your baby’s information to a cord blood transplant recipient or their family.
I would like to donate but, worry I might not qualify. What would keep me from being a donor?
When you sign up, we will ask you some questions to see if you can donate. Some things that would keep you from donating are
- You are under 18 years of age
- You are having treatment for a serious active infection or are on antibiotics.
- You have a chronic infectious disease such as HIV/AIDS or Hepatitis.
- You are an IV or illicit drug user.
- You or the baby’s father has a very strong history of cancer
Would my baby’s donated cord blood be used for human cloning?
No. We offer research doctors cord blood units to study, but your baby’s cord blood would not be used for cloning.
Is donated cord blood always stored?
No, not all donated cord blood can be stored. To be stored, the unit of cord blood we collect must:
- Be large enough
- Have a high enough cell count
- Be free from infection or disease
Where can I get more information about cord blood collection?
To get more information, you can:
- Call the Cord Blood Coordinator at 1-855-854-2222(CBBA) or 501-686- 6271 between 8:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday
- Visit www.cordbloodbankarkansas.org