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LifeShare Blood Centers Promoting Cord Blood Collection

LifeShare Blood Centers will continue promoting a cord blood bank pilot program and step up efforts to register bone marrow donors this year.

LifeShare partnered with Women’s Hospital in Baton Rouge, where 14% of all Louisiana babies are born, in 2008 for the pilot program. Umbilical cords contain stem cells that can be used in transplants to treat more than 70 diseases, many of them cancers and blood disorders.

Since June, LifeShare has collected 154 cord blood units. Besides promoting the cord blood bank, LifeShare will try to increase awareness about its role in recruiting bone marrow donors this year.

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How Umbilical Cord Blood is Collected

After the baby is born, the mother releases the placenta. The placenta transfers oxygen and nutrients from the mother’s body to the developing fetus. There are two methods of cord blood collection from the vein in the umbilical cord. Blood can be extracted before the placenta is delivered or after. The ex utero method is cord blood collection after delivery of the placenta and clamping off of the umbilical cord. Typically 40 – 150 ml of cord blood is collected through the umbilical cord by way of gravity drainage.

The in utero method of collection is similar to in utero, except that the cord blood is collected after delivery of the baby but before the delivery of the placenta. Additional stem cells can also be collected from the placenta. After the cord blood from is extracted from the umbilical cord, both the cord blood and the placenta are transported to the stem cell laboratory, and the placenta is processed to derive additional stem cells.

Extraction of stem cells from the placenta and the umbilical cord blood, can result in the banking of up to twice the number of stem cells.

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