Donating Cord Blood Could Be the Most Thoughtful Thing You Can Do

new baby hospitalWow. Of all the ways one human being can save another human being's life, donating your baby's umbilical cord blood to a public bank has got to be the easiest way ever. It's painless, costs nothing, and is virtually effort-free (pretty much all you have to do is tell your labor and delivery team that you want your cord blood donated, but more on that later).

What can cord blood cells do, you ask? What can't they do is a better question ...

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Like bone-marrow, cord blood is loaded with the type of blood-forming cells that are used in transplants for patients with diseases like leukemia and lymphoma. (In fact, collecting cord blood is so much simpler than harvesting bone marrow that the former is beginning to replace the latter altogether.)

Basically, it boils down to this: You're having a baby anyway, right? Instead of allowing the people at the hospital (or wherever you labor) to just throw that incredibly valuable umbilical cord away after you give birth (which is what usually happens), why not guarantee it goes to a good cause?

Oh, and just to avoid any confusion: Cord blood cells are NOT embryonic stem cells. Not even going there, just wanted to clarify.

Personally, I can't imagine why anyone WOULDN'T opt to donate their cord blood cells, although women who have or have had certain diseases aren't eligible (HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B or C, and some forms of cancer, for example).

Seriously, this is ALL YOU HAVE TO DO:

Talk to your doctor or midwife before your 34th week of pregnancy. They'll help you to find out if your hospital collects cord blood donations, after which point they can put you in touch with the local cord blood bank. Then it's just a matter of signing a few forms and, well, giving birth. Once the umbilical cord is clamped (which they do anyway, and it doesn't hurt!), your job is done.

Would you consider donating cord blood?


Image via David Swift/Flickr

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