SADM #79 Jul/Ago 2018
Frances Verter, PhD, Founder/Director of Parent’s Guide to Cord Blood Foundation
July is Cord Blood Awareness Month. The blood that remains in the umbilical cord after the birth of a baby is a rich source of non-embryonic stem cells.
Since 1988, doctors have been using this cord blood to help patients with cancer and blood diseases that need stem cell transplants, and by now there is a list of 80 diseases that can be treated this way.
Parents who are expecting a baby have three choices for their child’s cord blood. One is to do nothing and let the blood be discarded as medical waste. Another is to donate the cord blood to a public bank where it will be saved in case it is a match for a patient who needs a stem cell transplant. Finally the parents can chose to save the cord blood in a private bank for their own family, for a fee.
In recent years, published research has shown that if a child has brain injury from oxygen deprivation at birth, an infusion of their own cord blood will improve their motor skills. Researchers are now applying to have this therapy accepted by the FDA as an official treatment for babies with complications from prematurity or a difficult birth.
In Central and South Florida there are 6 large hospitals that collect cord blood donations to be listed on a registry for patients, and 5 private cord blood banks that offer family storage. Parents in this community live in the best part of the United States in terms of cord blood options.
The Parent’s Guide to Cord Blood Foundation is a charity that has been providing parents and physicians with education about cord blood banking since 1998. Our founder is Frances Verter PhD, both a mother who lost a child to cancer and a professional scientist.
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