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Cord Blood Donation, An Overview

As a mother-to-be, you can decide that your baby’s first act can be saving another person’s life.

As you begin to make decisions on behalf of your new baby, we hope that you will consider including the donation of your baby’s cord blood to the St. Louis Cord Blood Bank’s First Gift donation program among your priorities. Thousands of children and adults are alive today because mothers like you have donated their baby’s cord blood. Be assured that it is safe, painless, easy and free. 

​​​Why you should donate cord blood

During pregnancy, the placenta and blood within it serve as the lifeline of nourishment from mother to baby through the umbilical cord. Following the birth, these items are usually discarded. However, cord blood is a rich source of adult stem cells, similar to those found in bone marrow. These blood-forming stem cells create all of a person's blood cells: red cells that carry oxygen, white cells that fight disease, and platelets that help blood clot. It is because of this multipurpose functionality that cord blood is capable of treating more than 80 different diseases, and has saved thousands of lives.

How cord blood is collected

The collection of cord blood takes place after the baby has been delivered, so there is no risk to either the mother or baby. The delivery process is not changed or modified because of the cord blood collection. The umbilical cord is clamped, cut and separated from the baby. The baby is then placed in the mother’s arms or taken to a warmer. Only then will your physician or midwife collect the cord blood. The blood from the umbilical cord drains into a standard blood donor collection bag by gravity.

Donating your child's umbilical cord blood is safe

The entire procedure is noninvasive, painless and does not interfere with the birthing process. If at any time your physician or midwife becomes concerned about the health of you or your baby, the cord blood collection will not take place.

There are no costs to donate cord blood

You will not be charged for any expenses resulting from the collection of your baby's cord blood. Likewise, your insurance company will not be billed for anything associated with your donation. The St. Louis Cord Blood Bank assumes responsibility for all costs to collect, process, and store the unit for future use.

Highest ethical standards

Cord blood is a source of adult stem cells similar to those contained in bone marrow. Cord blood stem cells are collected after the birth of a healthy infant, and pose no risk to the donating mother or baby. Therefore, there are no ethical issues or controversy connected with the use of these cells. This differs from controversial embryonic stem cells that require the destruction of an embryo in order to be used for research.

Sometimes cord blood units do not meet criteria for use in transplanting. Typically, this occurs if the amount of cord blood collected is too small or the unit contains too few cells. In this case, it may be used for research purposes that have been approved by the St. Louis Cord Blood Bank and meet required ethical standards.

The St. Louis Cord Blood Bank does not participate in any activities that are designed to promote human cloning or the creation of human embryos for the specific purpose of producing embryonic stem cells for research.

More information

If you are considering donating your child's cord blood, or if you have questions or concerns, call the St. Louis Cord Blood Bank at 314-268-2787 or 888-453-2673 to register. A nurse is available to answer your questions between the hours of 7 am - 5 pm Monday through Friday. See more about the donation process here »