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Cord blood has several advantages for life saving transplantation procedures. Cord blood doesn't have to match a patient's tissue type as closely as donated bone marrow stem cells from adults and therefore more patients are able to receive transplants. Also, cord blood is safer because there is less risk of graft versus host disease, a condition where the stem cells that are infused can attack the patient that receives them.
More than 40 percent of cord blood units used in Be the Match transplants go to ethnically or racially diverse patients. A key problem for transplantation is that minorities are an underserved group due to the lack of acceptable bone marrow matches available to them. The San Diego 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. Donating to this bank, just like the blood bank, means the cord blood is available to any patient who needs a transplant.