Cord blood donation is continuously gaining popularity in many countries as a source of hematopoietic stem cells together with progenitor cells which have been used clinically for reconstruction of immunological function.
It has also been used for patients with specific genetic diseases, immunological defects, and hematological disorders. This blood can only be taken from donations of expectant women at delivery.
Cord Blood Donation Process
The process of cord blood donation is simple to follow and involves only a few steps, usually at the 28th to 35th week of pregnancy. These steps are as listed below.
1. Notify about cord blood donation
The first step is to notify your midwife or doctor about your intention to donate and to orient yourself with the guidelines of cord blood donation to determine if you qualify to donate.
2. Confirm if hospital accepts donation
You should then check the list of hospitals having the expertise of collecting cord blood to confirm if your hospital is listed. If not included, you might consider consulting a listed hospital to make prior arrangements with them on delivering at their hospital.
3. Notify the labor delivery team
Once you get to the hospital on your delivery day, notify the labor delivery team that you intend to donate cord blood. This will ensure that all the necessary arrangements will be made before your delivery.
4. Cord blood will be collected
When your baby is safely delivered, the umbilical cord will be clamped to maintain the blood in the placenta and umbilical cord. This blood with then be collected in a sterile bag.
5. Blood sample examination
A blood sample will be taken from your body and will be tested for any infectious diseases to ensure that the cord blood is safe for use. Note that the blood is taken from you and not your baby.
6. Consent will be taken
You will be asked and issued a copy that consents your donation of the cord blood. You should keep it in case you need to get in touch with the blood bank in the future.
7. Delivery of the cord blood for storage
The collected blood is then delivered to the central cord blood unit for safe storage. Proper care will taken seriously not to contaminate it in the process.
8. Assessment of cord blood
Once the blood has been received at the blood bank, it will be checked to confirm that it contains enough blood-forming cells that are usually required for conducting a transplant. If the cells are not enough for use, the blood is used for research on related issues.
9. Further screening for infections
If the blood has enough cells, it is screened for infections and details is recorded on “Be The Match Registry” to make it available for patients that need a transplant. Only a number and not the name of the donor is listed to maintain privacy.
10. Ready for use
The blood is now ready for use and frozen in a liquid nitrogen freezer to keep the cells alive until they are transferred to a living body.
As more and more people embrace cord blood donation, people need to be sensitized on the need to donate.
Although organ transplant and blood donation are surrounded by many cultural restrictions, its importance in life threatening conditions cannot be downplayed.
As the practice gains root in many parts of the world, it is anticipated that these restrictions will ease making more blood available for use.
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