It's amazing how much pregnancy has changed since my Mom had me.  All the additional tests and decisions that parents must make.  There's a lot more that we know more these days.  One of those things is the importance of cord blood.

For those that do not know, umbilical cord blood is rich in blood-forming cells.  It's a great source to treat certain diseases, such as leukemia and lymphoma.

One new decision parents get to make now is what to do with this cord blood.  Once upon a time, because its importance was discovered, this resource was discarded as medical waste.  Now, new parents have the option of banking the cord blood for future use or donating the cord blood for someone else to use or for medical research.

Banking cord blood is still a fairly new thing.  It's expensive and acts sorta like insurance. But as I looked into it a bit more, it's really expensive insurance that may or may not be useful.  If the child turns out to have certain disorders, the banked cord blood would not come in handy since it contains the same cells.  Hubby and I did not seriously consider this to be an option for us anyway, since, in addition to the high cost, we didn't have family histories of terminal diseases.

We are, however, looking into the donation route.  The donation programs are still quite small, but I think they will grow as time goes on. The National Marrow Donor Program has information on how to donate cord blood.  Unfortunately for me, my hospital is not participating in the program run by the local blood bank in my area.  But, that doesn't mean I cannot help.  One of the blood banks, Cryobanks International, has a program where they accept cord blood donations from anywhere in the US.  I'm currently looking into this right now.  There is a deadline, however, and you cannot register after 34 weeks of pregnancy.

This costs us nothing but can help many.  For other expectant moms out there, please consider it.


Little Fish said...

That is awesome!!

wyn said...

Michelle, you're so inspiring with your donation. I'm so glad you shared your generous actions so that someone else might also look to act and do the same.

Michelle said...

So far, I'm looking like a good donor candidate. But it turns out it's not automatic. I have to fill out this health questionnaire and my doctor has to agree (since she will be doing the collection), and I have to do a blood test shortly after I deliver AND contact the donation center for them to send a courier to pickup. Still need to talk to the Doc about it.

Jenny Georgio-who said...

I was thinking about this when I went to the hospital to pre-register for when I delivery. They gave me a huge book called Tiny Tots to Toddlers and an information packet on cord blood donation and storage. We are going to donate/store our cord blood.

When you choose the donation/storage route its free (in Quebec) and they store it up to 5 years for free and will contact you if anyone is a match for your cord blood to donate. After the 5 years, its just donated without your consent.

As for times changing since our parents had us. OMG soooo true.

I asked my mom the other day, "Mom when you and daddy brought me home from the hospital did you sit in the back with me" My mom's response, "No I had you in the front seat with me, in my arms!" Nowadays they don't let you leave the hospital without a proper car seat for your child's size and they watch you to make sure its properly installed. The nurses even help you adjust it if its installed wrong or not tight enough, too tight etc.

You can pre-install it here and just drive your car to a police station for fire department and ask them to check it. If its properly done they give you a paper that you take into the hospital when leaving and the nurse just makes sure that the carrier part is properly fastened and they send you on your merry way. If its incorrect, they fix it and then give you the paper.