Bloodworks Northwest Cord Blood Program
We are born with the capacity to save a life.
Cord blood donation is a simple, safe way to turn the birth of your child into someone else’s second chance.
I just want to say how easy and painless the whole process was. It really was just filling out a questionnaire, giving a blood sample, and having the nurses take care of the cord blood.
Who can donate?
Expectant mothers must meet the following requirements:
- Expecting one baby (not twins or multiples).
- Be 18 years or older.
- A full-term pregnancy at time of delivery (37 weeks of gestation).
- Have no history of any blood disorders or cancer. The baby’s other immediate family (father and siblings) must meet this requirement as well.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I become a cord blood donor?
- See if you meet the donor edibility requirements:
- Donors must be carrying one baby (no twins or triplets).
- Donor must be at least 18 years of age.
- Pregnancies must be at least 37 weeks gestation at the time of delivery.
- No blood cell disorders or cancers in the baby’s immediate family (including baby’s parents and siblings).
- See if your hospital is a participating collection site:
- If your hospital is a participating collection site, let the labor and delivery team know you are donating the umbilical cord to the public cord blood bank through Bloodworks Cord Blood Donation Program. You will need to sign a consent form.
Please note: Either before the birth of your baby or after, you will be asked for a blood sample to be tested for infectious diseases. This blood is taken only from you, not your baby.
How is cord blood collected?
After delivery the umbilical cord, ready to be discarded, is drained of the blood and stem cells. This collection is performed by a trained cord blood collector using a needle and collection bag similar to blood collection.
What is Cord Blood donation?
Cord blood donation is when blood from a clamped and cut cord, instead of being thrown away, is saved for potential stem cell transplant.
How is cord blood banked?
Consent happens with the Cord Blood collectors before birth.
After the cord blood unit is collected by a trained cord blood donation collector, it is transported to the Cord Blood Program at Bloodworks Northwest at our downtown Seattle location.
Cord blood units are de-identified to protect confidentiality and then unit evaluated for banking criteria (weight, volume, number of cells).
The stem cells that are isolated and which meet the banking requirements are frozen in liquid nitrogen with a protectant and stored until the unit is needed for transplant.
Why is diversity so important?
Because of the low numbers of registered bone marrow donors of color and their genetic diversity, non-Caucasian ethnic groups have low likelihood of finding a match. For instance, African American patience have less than a 20% chance of finding a match. Cord blood transplantation offers a solution for people who do not have a bone marrow match.
Can I donate if I'm doing delayed cord clamping?
Yes! When following the ACOG recommendations for cord clamping, your provider can still collect the umbilical cord for subsequent cord blood donation.