Donate your baby's umbilical cord
Rochester Area Right To Life
Pregnant? Want to save a life?
Bank your babys cord blood after delivery.
A newborn babys umbilical cord is rich in stem cells. Those stem cells can be used to treat illnesses which would otherwise be fatal. Peggy Cash of Florida knows this in intimate detail. Her son Austin is alive today because another mother donated her own newborn babys umbilical cord blood to the National Marrow Donor Program.
Austin had been so listless all weekend that Peggy took him to the doctor. She was horrified to find that he had leukemia. Fortunately, there was a match in two of the donated umbilical cord units. Twenty-one days after Austin received the transplant of stem cells he began to produce new blood cells, indicating that the procedure had been successful. (You can read Peggys gripping story at www.marrow.org/NEWS/ARTICLES/mothersday05062002.html )
Austin had his second birthday amid all the uncertainty and worry between the diagnosis and the successful transplant. He is now a healthy 4-year-old. He goes in for checkups every 6 months, but hes doing just fine. He goes to the beach, rides his bike, "helps" his parents mow the lawn, and collects Pez candy dispensers. Just a normal kid.
Hes just a normal kid today, thanks to a generous woman who donated those life-giving stem cells before Austin was born. So the stem cells he got were older than he was!
The donation of cord blood is a fledgeling program - your hospital may not be equipped to do it. And at this point it takes some planning ahead. However, its worth checking, and the website of the National Marrow Donor Program (www.marrow.org) can help you do it.
Heres how it works: When you baby is born, the doctor will check the cord to make sure it will be usable. He then uses a kit which you obtained during your pregnancy and fills the container with the cord blood. That filled container is then frozen and kept in the bank until the blood is needed.
This is basically the same process you would have followed if you had decided to bank your babys blood privately for his/her own use in case of emergency later, for which you would pay fees. However, if you decide to donate, there is no fee.
Yep, it must be a real high to go home with your newborn knowing that youve fostered life for not one but two people. (Or three or four if you just had twins!)
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