BROOKEVILLE, Md., July 27, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Once routinely discarded during the birth process, a newborn's umbilical cord blood contains non-controversial and potentially life-saving stem cells that can be collected and stored for future medical use. But despite their proven uses and vast medical potential, published data shows that three out of four mothers consider themselves only "minimally informed" about cord blood banking.
In connection with Cord Blood Awareness month, Parent's Guide to Cord Blood Foundation, the leading online resource educating parents about their cord blood storage options, has announced the first in a series of new tools and resources being made available to parents on its revised website: the nation's first searchable map of cord blood donation sites throughout the U.S.
"With our new interactive map tool, expectant parents can search geographically for either a public donation program serving hospitals within the U.S., or world-wide they can search for a private bank that serves parents in their country," said Dr. Frances Verter, founder and director of Parent's Guide to Cord Blood Foundation. "Parents have many important decisions to make when preparing for the birth of their newborn, so we're happy to offer a resource where they can quickly find reliable and up-to-date information on the differences between private banking and public donation, and the banks available to them."
Expectant parents who have decided to donate their baby's cord blood can use the U.S. donation map to see if they will deliver their baby at one of about 225 hospitals in the U.S. that is currently collecting cord blood donations, or search for mail-in donation programs, which enable expectant mothers anywhere in the U.S. to register for cord blood donation.
Parents in the U.S. can also learn if their state has legislation in place regarding cord blood education. As of July 2011, a total of 27 states – representing 81 percent of U.S. births – have passed laws calling for expectant parents to receive education about cord blood stem cells. In most states where such laws have passed, prenatal care providers are encouraged to educate expectant parents about all cord blood storage options, so that they can make an informed decision early in the pregnancy about whether to privately bank their child's cord blood stem cells or donate them to a public bank.
About Cord Blood Stem Cells
Cord blood, like bone marrow, is a source of stem cells for transplantation or regenerative medicine. About 1 in every 200 Americans will have a stem cell transplant during a lifetime, but 70 percent of patients who need a transplant from a donor cannot find a match within their family. Those patients turn to the national program to find a donor who can be the match for them. The national inventory of public cord blood donations, online at http://BeTheMatch.org, fills a critical need for patients who seek stem cell transplants.
Parents also have the option to store their child's cord blood in a private (or family) bank, where it will be immediately available should it be needed by the child or a closely matched family member. Currently, experimental therapies and clinical trials underway with cord blood require children to have access to their own stem cells as a condition for participation. Private cord blood banks also run charity programs that make it possible for families with an existing medical need to enter free banking programs.
Parent's Guide to Cord Blood Foundation
Parent's Guide to Cord Blood Foundation provides parents with balanced information about both cord blood donation and private banking for the family. The educational materials from the Foundation are backed by an advisory panel of leading scientific and medical experts in the field of cord blood banking. The revision of the Foundation's website will have many new features, but the searchable map of donation locations has been rolled out first because it is an important public service, and comes at a time when financial pressures are making it harder for federal programs to provide resources. The Foundation also distributes free educational materials about cord blood through state governments, healthcare providers, and childbirth classes. The Parent's Guide to Cord Blood Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charity and donations to support their work are fully tax-deductible.
Frances Verter, PhD
|SOURCE Parent’s Guide to Cord Blood Foundation|
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