We have been lucky that no one in our family has had significant health problems, however, that is not the reality for everyone.
What’s even worse is knowing that there could be a cure or a treatment but it all relies on a stem cell match transplant. This is where the Canadian Blood Services’ Cord Blood Bank comes in.
The Canadian Blood Services’ Cord Blood Bank is a national, public inventory, which collects, tests and stores eligible blood stem cells from the umbilical cord and placenta after the baby’s birth.
These stem cells are used to increase transplant opportunities for patients in Canada and Worldwide for over 80 diseases and disorders.
Why you should donate your baby’s cord blood and give life twice
It’s free – The whole process is 100% free and what would otherwise be discarded as medical waste can now be used for life-saving measures.
Collection is easy – Cord blood is either collected by a healthcare professional after the delivery of baby but before the delivery of the placenta or by designated Canadian Blood Services personnel after both baby and placenta are delivered. The cord blood unit is sent to one of the manufacturing facilities in Ottawa or Edmonton, where it will be processed, tested and stored in a special freezer.
It helps to fight over 80 diseases and disorders – Stem cell transplants help to fight leukemia, lymphoma and aplastic anemia, as well as many other inherited immune system and metabolic disorders. With more research being done the list of what can be treated will continue to grow.
Family only makes up 25% of stem cell matches – The first place that doctors look when treating a patient who requires a stem cell transplant is within the patient’s family. However, approximately 75% of patients who need a stem cell transplant are unable to find a match within their family and look to a Cord Blood Bank.
Matches increase – Until recently, Canada was the only G8 country that did not have a Public Cord Blood Bank and relied on international sources for stem cells. Having our own Blood Bank means that Canadians have a higher chance of finding their match.
Do you qualify for donating?
As of July 2016, the Canadian Blood Services’ Cord Blood Bank collected over 1,800 cord blood units but more donations are needed from healthy from moms (and baby’s) from all ethnic backgrounds to continue to build a national, public inventory of stem cells. Other qualifications to donate are:
- Mother must be 18 years of older and consent to donation
- Be at least 34 weeks pregnant
- Can not be pregnant with multiples (twins, triplets etc)
- Speak fluent English or French
The 5 designated collection hospitals are located in 4 Canadian cities. You can find them at:
- Ottawa, The Ottawa Hospital’s General Campus, and Civic Campus
- Brampton, Ontario, in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), at the William Osler Health System Brampton Civic Hospital
- Edmonton, Alberta, at the Lois Hole Hospital for Women, Royal Alexander Hospital
- Vancouver, British Columbia, at the BC Women’s Hospital and Health Center
To find out more information about donating your baby’s cord blood talk to your doctor or midwife during your prenatal visit. You can also download an information kit online at blood.ca/cordblood.
This post was sponsored by Canadian Blood Services, however; all content and opinions expressed are my own.