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Continued Support for Public Cord Blood Banking....
September 19, 2009
Received via email 
 
Hi Gina! 
I pray that you’re having a good day and if it’s been a rough week (you’ve been a bit quiet) I pray this brings a smile to your face.  Sending this from work since I can’t seem to get to my computer at home.  With the upcoming birth please be sure to send any response to my home, wasn’t sure if I should send to your bahbad or aol address let’s give bahbad a try!
 
A little background...I work for a Fortune 500 company, and a company that has been consecutively listed as one of the Fortune 100 best companies to work.  My company employee’s somewhere in the ballpark of 15,000 employees (give or take some give to recent cuts and layoffs) and one of the “perks” afforded to us are message boards where employee’s can post questions specific to parenting, cooking, gardening, auto etc and wait for a colleague to post their response to the board.  One of the boards that I have been frequently recently is for Pregnancy (imagine that!) and just a day or two ago an individual posted a question regarding private cord blood donation...which company to use, pros and cons of each company and...was it worth it to bank the cord blood?  Well, you can imagine my excitement...  I had planned to post a detailed message regarding public cord blood donation after returning to work so I could provide a picture of the entire donation process but given the circumstances I felt the time was right to shed a little light on a subject you have helped to bring near and dear to my heart!  Now I know that on a daily basis there likely aren’t 15,000 employees surfing the Pregnancy message board but I do know that there are a number of people that utilize this valuable resource and I’m hopeful that my quickly drafted post (need to summarize a bit more for general consumption) will provide some food for thought...just a reminder that every little thing we do, every time you reach out to someone the message gets carried along to who knows how many others.  Out of who knows how many people that view this post a seed may be planted in 1 or 2 but that 1 or 2 may be able to offer the hope that a patient and family in need have been praying for.  It’s a small world, remember your impact.  This one’s for Evan...
 
Much Love From Iowa,
Kristi 
 
Please note that the attached links should be viewed on your own time.  Thanks!  Also wanted to mention that I’m not at all interested in starting a debate on public vs. private cord blood donation but wanted to shed a bit of light on an option I had little knowledge of until a friend pointed me in the direction of public cord blood donation.  From her family’s own tragedy she was motivated to get the word out regarding public cord blood donation.  When the “unthinkable” struck her family they learned that her own child’s cord blood (which had been privately banked at birth) was of no use to their son, nor were his siblings...a cord blood transplant was ultimately deemed the best treatment option and two cord blood matches from the NMDP’s national registry were used for transplantation and provided their family with hope for the future.
 
I have personally never privately stored any of our children’s cord blood.  With baby number one the concept was rather new and the cost was prohibitive and thus little consideration was given to private storage.  With baby number two I did a bit more research and in our families case decided not to privately bank our son’s cord blood because we did not have a child or close family member with a condition that could potentially benefit from transplantation; and the reality is that most conditions that might be helped by cord blood stem cells already exist in your infant’s cord blood.  So, along comes baby number three and since the birth of our last child I have learned quite a bit about public cord blood donation and have become quite passionate about this public option; baby number three’s cord blood will be donated to the Be The Match Registry (National Marrow Donor Program – NMDP), a national registry.

 Public cord blood banking (or donating) means that the baby’s cord blood will be stored in a cord blood bank and is made available to anyone in need of transplant.  It may also be used for research purposes to help bring us closer to finding “the cure” and/or new treatments for many otherwise life-threatening diseases such as malignancies, bone marrow failures, immunodeficiency’s, etc.  Depending on where you live in the country you may not be the least bit familiar with this public banking option, my own OB/GYN had little awareness of this public option but once educated on the topic was excited to come on board with our donation plan!

 Public cord banks pay for the collection procedure and the storing of the baby’s cord blood so there is no cost to the family for donating the cord blood.  There are currently no cord blood banks located here in Central Iowa though there have been recent discussions regarding the feasibility of developing a bank for the state of Iowa.  The University of Iowa does currently operate a research program and collects cord blood donations from deliveries performed at the U of I but there are no other locally housed banking facilities in the state.  In my case, I am using Cryobanks International for the donation of our child’s cord blood.  Cryobanks offers both a private and public storage option and works in partnership with the National Marrow Donor Program to store cord blood for the NMDP’s national registry and helps to coordinate transplants for patients in need and the process has been simple enough thus far...the downloading and completion of a health assessment, getting my Dr. to sign-off on the request and forwarding to Crybanks for review.  Just yesterday I was notified that I have been accepted into the program and the required collection kit is being mailed out to me this week...just in time for baby!

 The decision to privately bank umbilical cord blood is an intensely personal one and only you know what’s best for your family but I did want to remind people of this public donation option...particularly for Mom’s-to-Be who may not have previously given any consideration to the options that exist for their child’s cord blood. 

Our family is looking forward to the birth of our baby and are hopeful and prayerful that the life-giving cells found in his/her umbilical cord blood will give hope and new life to a family in need.
 
Kristi
 
 
Additional Information regarding How to Donate, Where to Donate and other questions you might have regarding Cord Blood Donation are addressed at:

 There are a lot of great resources out there that discuss private vs. public donation including the American Academy of Pediatrics, National Marrow Donor Program, Be A Hero, Become A Donor and WebMD just to name a few:

Shortcut to: http://www.aap.org/advocacy/releases/jan07cordblood.htm

Shortcut to: http://www.aap.org/advocacy/releases/jan07cordblood.htm

Shortcut to: http://marrow.org/HELP/Donate_Cord_Blood_Share_Life/index.html

Shortcut to: http://www.bahbad.org/howtogetinvolved/donate-your-babys-cord-blood.aspx

 
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