Parents delivering at Crouse Health will now have the opportunity to voluntarily donate their baby’s umbilical cord blood to the Upstate Cord Blood Bank at Upstate Medical University.
This new partnership will potentially increase cord blood donations that will be available for public use. “We are pleased to welcome Crouse Health parents to participate in donating their child’s umbilical cord blood to the Upstate Cord Blood Center at Upstate Medical University,” said Dr. Matthew Elkins, medical director of the Upstate Cord Blood Bank. Thousands of critically ill patients with blood diseases such as leukemia and lymphoma are in urgent need of life-saving transplants. Umbilical cord blood, which is typically discarded as medical waste, is rich with the blood-forming cells that can give blood cancer patients hope for a cure.
“Crouse is proud to partner with Upstate’s Cord Blood Bank on this public health initiative,” says Director of Women and Infants Services Betty O’Connor, RN. “If a life can be enhanced or saved through this collection, the Crouse maternity team is pleased to assist in the effort.”
Cord blood donation is completely safe for mother and baby; labor and delivery is not affected. No blood is taken from a newborn; it is only removed from the umbilical cord after birth. The designation of Upstate Cord Blood Bank as a public blood bank is important in that there is no cost to donate and donated cord blood is available to anyone who needs it.
Once donated, the cord blood will be stored in the bank and made available to transplant centers in the United States and throughout the world for patients in need. The cord blood units will be listed on national and international registries in order to be matched to the patients who need them. Any units collected that are not suitable for transplantation will be made available to researchers, both at Upstate Medical University and around the country.
Deciding whether to donate cord blood is best done during the early months of pregnancy. Various forms are completed by the expectant parents and submitted directly to the cord blood bank no more than 30 days prior to delivery. Once reviewed and approved, the bank notifies Crouse’s Labor and Delivery unit, which reviews the potential donation with the mother before actual delivery. Once the blood is removed from the umbilical cord, the donation is then packaged and transported to Upstate’s 20,000 square-foot facility that features a state of the art processing laboratory and cryogenic storage containers.
“The decision one makes to donate a child’s umbilical cord blood has the potential to save lives, through transplantation or biomedical research,” says Dr. Elkins.
The Upstate Cord Blood Bank operates under strict guidelines and protocols, established by state and federal health organizations, including the state Health Department; Food and Drug Administration; AABB Center for Cellular Therapies; and the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy.
For more information about the Crouse Cord Blood Collection initiative, visit crouse.org/cordblood.