Cord Blood Donations
Donating your cord blood freely to an anonymous patient is a wonderful gift. It is priceless because it may be the only cord blood that is available for life saving treatment for a child or adult with a potentially fatal illness. By donating your baby's cord blood, "Life can begin twice!"
Donating your cord blood is a very simple and harmless procedure. Every step must be taken to ensure that the quality of the cord blood is maintained, that it is safe and kept in a secure place. To ensure such quality and safety, the Sydney Cord Blood Bank needs your cooperation to give medical information (to assess risk of infection and of transmission of genetic disorders) and to have a blood test for infection. You will need to be at least 36 weeks into your pregnancy and not have a multiple pregnancy (e.g. twins).
How to Donate Cord Blood
If you are giving birth at one of our Collection Sites you (the mother) can do the following:
- When attending for antenatal visits ask for information.
- On the day of your delivery, notify your midwife or obstetrician that you would like to donate your cord blood and they will page a cord blood collector. Sign a written consent for collection of cord blood (forms can be downloaded or provided to you in hospital but must be completed prior to birth).
- Complete and sign a Medical and Travel History questionnaire answering questions relating to ethnic background, family medical history and baby's health. This form can be downloaded and pre-filled, however a cord blood staff member will go through it with you.
- Complete and sign a "Donor Declaration" which involves answering personal questions to assess risk of infection for hepatitis, HIV, syphilis and other infections.
- Have a blood test after delivery for infectious disease testing to screen for infection.
- Provide follow-up information on yourself and your baby's health.
Where are Cord Blood Collection Centres?
The Sydney Cord Blood Bank has collection centres at the following maternity hospitals:
- Royal Hospital for Women, Randwick
- Prince of Wales Private Hospital, Randwick
- Royal Prince Alfred Women's and Babies, Camperdown (temporarily closed)
To date, the Sydney Cord Blood Bank has collected over 19,000 cord blood units and released over 520 cord blood units for life-saving transplants.
How Cord Blood is Collected
The cord blood will be collected by accredited staff by one of the two methods:
- When the placenta is still in the womb. Immediately after the delivery and the cutting of the umbilical cord, the midwife, doctor or collector will venepuncture the umbilical cord vein and drain the blood from the placenta into a bag. This will take a few minutes. When the placenta is expelled, more blood may be collected from the veins in the placenta.
- After the placenta is out of the womb. The cord blood collection takes place after the placenta is expelled, away from the delivery room.
Sometimes the cord blood collection may not be successful, for example because the volume collected is insufficient or there is a clot. If unsuccessful, there will be no need to collect a maternal blood sample from you or complete the health history questionnaire. You will be notified if this is the case.
The successful collection will be transported to the laboratory within 36 hours in a safe and secure way, for processing and testing. Banking/storage will follow if the tests for quality and infection status are satisfactory. If unsuccessful, the cord blood may be used for research (only with your consent - there is a box to tick on the Consent Form).
In the course of time, (it may be months or years) when the cord blood is being searched for a patient, you may be contacted to re-check the health status of yourself and your child.
Please discuss your wish to donate your cord blood with your obstetrician and/or midwife.