Give Hope to Blood Cancer Patients: Donate Your Baby’s Umbilical Cord

December 18, 2018

New Brunswick, N.J., December 18, 2018 - A stem cell is a blood-forming cell used in life-saving transplants for many patients with blood cancers, such as leukemia and lymphoma.  A transplant replaces a patient’s sick blood-forming cells with new healthy ones.  As many as seven out of 10 cancer patients who need a stem cell transplant do not have the option of a matched family member or unrelated donor. 

Umbilical cords are rich in the stem cells needed to help these patients.  According to Be the Match (National Marrow Donor Program), more than 25,000 patients around the world have received cord blood transplants because parents have donated their baby’s umbilical cord to a public cord bank.

Umbilical cord blood cells are removed from a baby’s umbilical cord and placenta after the baby is born – these cells are not from an embryo.  If umbilical cords are not donated or saved for personal use, they are discarded. Donation to a public umbilical cord bank is free.  In addition, donation is painless and free of risk for both mother and baby and their privacy is protected throughout the process.

Talk to your midwife or doctor about cord blood donation.  Donating umbilical cords increases the likelihood that patients will find a match needed for a cure.  The gift of cord blood can be someone else’s second chance at life. 

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Jacqueline Manago RN, BMTCN and Mary Kate McGrath RN, APN, OCN, BMTCN, are bone marrow transplant coordinators at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. 


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