August 21st, 2010
I grew up in a family of blood donors. My mom has super veins and gives as often as you’re allowed to and our house was sprinkled with blood donation tchotchke, from Charlie Corpuscle stuffed critters to mugs and pajama pants emblazoned with our local blood bank’s emblem.
As I’ve grown up, I try to carry on the tradition, although for a while there, my overseas travel nixed me from many a list. This morning, I just finished filling out the paperwork for a different type of blood donation — cord blood.
When Baby2 is born in a few weeks, I will be donating the leftover “cord blood” (from the umbilical cord and placenta) to a national cord blood bank.
Cord blood donation is a fairly new thing, but is already proving to have all sorts of potential. They currently can use donated cord blood to help treat certain blood diseases like leukemia — much in the way that they use bone marrow. Cord blood also contains stem cells, making it a promising research avenue for combating a wider array of diseases.
The hospital we’re delivering at is one of only a couple hundred in the country that has an active cord blood donation program. All I have to do is fill out some paperwork in advance, then the doctors will collect the cord blood after donation and whisk it away to the bank. It’s that easy.