cord blood awareness month faqs

Cord blood is the blood left in the umbilical cord and placenta after the baby is born. Although cord blood contains all the elements found in whole blood, including red blood cells, white blood cells, plasma and platelets, it is mainly collected because it is rich in hematopoietic stem cells. These very special cord blood stem cells can be used to treat a wide variety of potentially fatal diseases, and can help children to replace damaged blood cells with healthy ones that can strengthen their immune systems.

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Why Is Cord Blood Important?

This blood is a critical treatment option for patients suffering from leukemia and lymphoma and can be used to support research in heart disease, juvenile diabetes, brain injury, and more. Once discarded as medical waste, it can now be saved to benefit the family, community members, or society as a whole, especially in light of the fact that 1 in 3 Americans could benefit from regenerative medicine.

Will Collecting Blood Hurt My Baby or Me?

No. There is no risk to the mother or baby because cord blood is collected after the baby is born and after the cord is cut. There will be no change in the way mother and baby are cared for during labor and delivery or afterward.

What Is the Difference Between Donating Cord Blood and Storing It for My Family?

Public donations don’t have a fee. The cord blood is recorded and stored in a public bank until needed. If you store your baby’s cord blood privately, there is an ongoing fee for storage, and only your family can use it. You can also donate it to research, which also doesn’t have a fee.

Because cord blood has become so relevant when trying to cure various diseases, nearly half of all pediatric transplants now involve cord blood. The growing popularity of this procedure and proven results have allowed over 30,000 transplants to be performed to date, enabling young babies to benefit greatly from the healing cells provided from the cord blood. The collection does not harm the mother or child and in no way disrupts a family’s birth plan. Interested in learning more?

Talk with your doctor, visit the Dan Berger Cord Blood Program at Magee, or contact Mary Wiegel at 412-209-7479.

About UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital

For more than a century, UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital has provided high-quality medical care to women at all stages of life. UPMC Magee is long-renowned for its services to women and babies but also offers a wide range of care to men as well. Our patient-first approach ensures you and your loved ones get the care you need. Nearly 10,000 babies are born each year at Magee, and our NICU is one of the largest in the country. Our network of care – from imaging centers to hospital services – provides care throughout Pennsylvania and Maryland, giving you a chance to get the expert care you need close to home. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recognizes UPMC Magee as a National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health, and the Magee-Womens Research Institute is the largest research institute in the U.S. devoted exclusively to women’s health and reproductive biology.