ATLANTA - Mothers having their babies at Emory Midtown or Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta can now participate in a public cord blood collection program that's free of charge. Delivering mothers can decide whether to donate cord blood from their babies' umbilical cords to the nonprofit Cleveland Cord Blood Center. Donated cord blood units are listed on the Be The Match Registry®, where it is available for any patient in need of a stem cell transplant to fight blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma.
Donating cord blood is completely safe for both the mom and the baby. Blood is collected from the cord - not the baby - immediately after birth, so the labor and delivery experience are not changed in any way. And there are no collection or storage costs when cord blood is donated.
Having cord blood units from babies of diverse racial and ethnic heritage is important to patients who need a transplant because they are more likely to find a match from someone who shares their heritage. More than 40 percent of diverse patients who receive transplants use publicly donated cord blood.
The Abraham J. & Phyllis Katz Foundation provided a grant to help Emory and Piedmont expand cold blood donation in Atlanta.
In the past, those delivering at each hospital could only participate in private cord blood banking programs, or they could allow their baby's umbilical cord to be discarded. Piedmont and Emory are the second and third area hospitals to offer the service. Last year, DeKalb Medical started a similar program with New York Blood Center.
Expectant parents can learn more about public cord blood donation at BeTheMatch.org/cord.
About Be The Match®
For people with life-threatening blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma, a cure exists. Be The Match connects patients with their donor match for a life-saving marrow or umbilical cord blood transplant. People can contribute to the cure as a member of the Be The Match Registry, a financial contributor or a volunteer. Be The Match provides patients and their families one-on-one support, education and guidance before, during and after transplant.