Cord Blood Donation

Jul 28, 2014 by

Modern medicine is absolutely amazing. I just swabbed four sterile Q-tips against the inside of my cheeks, put them in a postage paid envelope and sent them off to the National Bone Marrow Registry. I’ve been thinking about doing this for some time, but I have been afraid. I’ve even been a little reluctant to give blood since having kids. Now that I have two little humans I need to take care of and make sure I am alive for, I have hesitated to do things like this that might compromise that commitment to my children in the name of helping a stranger. I don’t know if anyone else has had that feeling, or if it makes any sense. It’s not like giving blood or just getting on the donor registry in any way compromises my health or ability to care for my family. If I was found to be a match, yes, there would be some risk involved as there is with any anesthesia. Life is full of risks. Why not take a small risk that will benefit others? Or on the other hand, why take any risk that could even possibly adversely affect me and in turn my children? These are the irrational, self-absorbed thoughts that go through my head when deciding if I want to do something like join the bone marrow registry.

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In the long run, I’m going for it. I’m swabbing and I’m waiting. I’ll be on the list until I’m in my sixties and should the call come that a match has been made, I will give. The last push for me was watching a friend (on Facebook, from High School) go through a diagnosis of MDS and a transplant from donor cord blood. When I had my babies, I knew that you could decide to bank the cord blood for your own children at a price for use at a later date if needed, but I didn’t really look into it. No one had ever mentioned donating the cord blood. I could almost cry just thinking about all of that precious blood just thrown away when someone could have benefitted from it. So I’m writing directly to you. If you’re not planning to bank the cord blood for your own family, consider donating it to another family in need. Whether you donate or not, think about telling just one more person you know about this option. For some person out there, all it takes is that one perfect match.

It’s been absolutely inspiring to see friends, neighbors, co-workers and even strangers band together to help my old friend beat this. I have no idea what medical costs she has had to take on, but I do know that her supporters helped raised the amount of money she anticipated needing for housing away from her family during her treatment. People are just amazing.

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Jenn

With a degree in advertising from the University of Florida, Jenn began her career in sales and media buying. She served as President for the Ad Club of CT while pregnant with her first child. After spending seven years working in traffic and operations at a Hartford area brand transformation firm, she recently transitioned to working in internal communication at a large insurance company. After the birth of her first daughter, Jenn completed her 200 hour yoga teacher training. She is a founding member of a monthly book club that’s been meeting since 2005. She lives east of the river with her high school sweetheart and their two daughters born in 2010 and 2013.

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10 Comments

  1. Jessica Hendrickson

    I think donating cord blood is a wonderful, selfless-yet-so-simple act; however, when I told my OB I wanted to (beginning of this year), she said the hospital where she was affiliated didn’t do it (??). I wish I pressed the issue more but I was so close to my due date and changing doctors or hospitals wasn’t really an option at that point. So my advice to anyone who is interested in doing this is – ASK ABOUT IT EARLY ON IN YOUR PREGNANCY and keep following up on it. To this day it still bothers me that I wasn’t able to do it.

    • Great tip Jessica – thank you!!!! I wondered why my OB didn’t offer this an option and will talk to them about it at my next appt. My guess is that my hospital doesn’t do this either, but I am going to try to get to the bottom of it.

    • B. David Hall, MD

      I am a retired Obstetrician who was saved by a Cord Blood transplant for AML. It is sad to hear that your Ob did not know about the Kit Program, which is available for ALL hospitals. At 32-36 weeks gestation expectant mothers can register and receive a kit in the mail. They will carry it to their delivery, and, after 20 minutes of on-line training, their Doctor can collect and FedEx your cord blood to a processing center. Please go to the Carolina’s Cord Blood Bank website at http://www.ccbb.duke.edu to learn more. I will be happy to visit any Obstetrics office in the North Carolina area to encourage their participation. Please get the word out about this lifesaving liquid gold.

      • Jenn

        Thank you so much for this information – I hope that people will continue to spread the word!

      • This is great info! My OB (whom I love, otherwise) told me nothing about it. I asked when we started discussing delivery toward the end of the pregnancy, and it was already too late. I am so happy to hear about your success with this!! I will spread the word to any expectant friends I have!

  2. Michelle

    Great info!

  3. Nicky

    I think cord blood donation is a wonderful and life giving option for many families. The opposite side to this though, would be delayed cord clamping at birth, allowing those same benefits and the childs blood to be given back to the child. This article is a good reference, though obviously in favor of delayed cord clamping. http://www.scienceandsensibility.org/?p=5730

  4. When I had my daughter in 2010, I mentioned that I wanted to donate the cord blood and was told that I couldn’t because no hospital in CT took donations.

  5. Julie

    When I gave birth to my son in Massachusetts nearly 8 years ago we donated his cord blood. The organization sent a lovely thank you bib.

  6. I wasn’t able to donate because I’d had a recent blood transfusion, but was glad to learn about public cord banking. Thanks for spreading the word!

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