Cord Blood Donation Program

Frequently Asked Questions About Cord Blood Donation

Donating your baby’s cord blood is free.

Donating to the public cord blood bank is completely free. There are no costs to you when you donate your baby’s cord blood to a public cord blood bank. Neither you nor your baby will receive any compensation for donating your baby’s cord blood to this program. All associated costs will be paid by San Diego Blood Bank's Cord Blood Program. Neither you nor your insurance will be charged for any expenses.

A new birth provides hope for others.

Cord blood contains many immature cells. The cells are collected, processed and stored at the San Diego Blood Bank. If the cells meet certain criteria, the cord blood unit is listed on a national registry, making it available to patients around the world for possible matching and use. Cord blood cells are used to treat patients with various forms of diseases (e.g., leukemia, lymphoma, anemia, immune disease/disorder, metabolic disorder).

Cord blood collection is a safe and non-invasive process. If a woman chooses to donate umbilical cord blood, labor and delivery is not affected. No blood is taken from the baby, only from the umbilical cord after the baby is born and separated from the umbilical cord. After the cord blood is collected, it is stored at the San Diego Blood Bank and made available through the National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP), Be The Match Registry®, for lifesaving transplantation in patients.

When a patient needs a transplant, his or her doctor will search Be The Match Registry for a matching cord blood unit or adult marrow donor. If a cord blood unit is found to be the best choice, the cord blood is infused into the patient’s blood where the healthy cord blood stem cells replace the patient's damaged bone marrow stem cells, restoring the patient's immune system to protect them from life threatening infections.

Your privacy is protected.

Names and contact information of cord blood donor mothers and babies are never shared. To protect you and your baby’s privacy, a unique identification number will be assigned to you and your baby’s cord blood. The unique identification number will be used for all cord blood samples during collection, testing and processing. The link between you and your baby’s name and you and your baby’s unique identifying numbers will be kept in a locked file cabinet in a restricted area of San Diego Blood Bank.

A cord for the community.

If you want to donate your baby's cord blood to San Diego Blood Bank's Cord Blood Donation Program, you should first:

• Confirm delivery will occur at a participating hospital:

• Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla
• Scripps Mercy Hospital San Diego
• UC Davis Medical Center
• Kaiser Permanente Roseville Medical Center

• Notify your physician or midwife of your decision
• Complete and provide consent form to the labor and delivery staff

At the time of your delivery, if you meet the initial screening requirements, a kit from San Diego Blood Bank will be available at the participating hospital. You will be asked to donate blood samples used to test for infectious diseases. Blood samples will only be drawn from mother, not baby.

If you wish to contact an independent third party not connected with this study about problems, concerns, questions, information or input, please contact National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP) Donor Advocacy Program at 1(800) 526-7809, extension 8710.

Donating cord blood is safe for you and your baby

Your decision can give someone else a tomorrow. Right after your baby is born and takes its first breath, the umbilical cord is cut to separate the baby from the placenta. Blood left in the cord and placenta is collected by gravity into a special bag. The collection takes a few minutes and does not interfere with the baby bonding process.

As you celebrate the birth of your baby, consider donating the cord blood and celebrate twice. You can help others get the transplants they need by donating your baby’s cord blood to San Diego Blood Bank.

A new birth provides diversity.

Cord blood has several advantages for lifesaving transplantation procedures. Cells donated from cord blood don’t have to match a patient's tissue type as closely as cells donated from adult bone marrow, increasing the availability of possible matches for patients in need. In addition, cord blood recipients have less risk of developing graft versus host disease, a condition where the infused stem cells can attack the patient who receives them.

A key problem for transplantation is that minorities are an underserved group due to the lack of acceptable bone marrow matches available to them. San Diego Blood Bank's Cord Blood Bank has the unique advantage of having access to a large population of racially and ethnically diverse people, so cord blood collection in our community makes good sense. Donating to a public cord blood bank is free.

San Diego Blood Bank's Cord Blood Donation Program serves as a public cord blood bank in California and has cord blood collection agreements in place with participating hospitals in the greater San Diego and Sacramento regions.

In the past, when a baby was born the umbilical cord was discarded as medical waste. Medical research has since shown that cord blood is a rich source of life-saving stem cells that can be used to treat serious health problems in patients. Now blood from the umbilical cord is collected after a baby's birth and can be donated to a public cord blood bank like the one at San Diego Blood Bank. That cord blood can help someone with a life-threatening disease.

A new birth provides hope for a cure.

Donated cord blood units that do not meet minimum criteria to be listed on a registry and used for transplant may be used for research, quality control and other studies. All cells are valuable to help improve the process, find new treatments and provide a future for others.

We are moving into a new era of cell-based therapies worldwide, and we are deeply involved in carrying out research to supply stem cell products and services to academic and biopharmaceutical researchers for the development of new cell-based therapies for the treatment of a broad range of diseases, including cancer, immune and genetic disorders. We are also carrying out our own internal research programs with cord blood stem cells to develop therapies targeting cancer and immune disorders and exploring opportunities in the new field of regenerative medicine, using cell therapy for the treatment of age-related disorders such as cardiovascular, neurological and autoimmune problems.

Additional Information About Donating Cord Blood

For more information on San Diego Blood Bank's Cord Blood Donation Program, please call (619) 400-8304.

Public Cord Blood Bank Accreditation

San Diego Blood Bank has full accreditation by the AABB (Association for the Advancement of Blood and Biotherapies) for cell therapy activities related to cord blood, including collection, processing, storage and distribution. These cord blood units are listed with the National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP) as a lifesaving therapy for patients in need of a bone marrow transplant.

San Diego Blood Bank Cord Blood Donation Program collects donated cord blood from multiple hospitals in the Greater San Diego region as well as in the Greater Sacramento Region of California.