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Between your 28th and 34th week of pregnancy 

  1. Talk to your doctor or midwife about your decision to donate umbilical cord blood.
  2. Learn if you meet cord blood donation guidelines.
  3. Check the list of hospitals that collect cord blood for a public cord blood bank. If your hospital is listed, contact the cord blood bank that works with your hospital to find more information about what you need to do to donate. 

If your hospital is not listed, you may be able to receive a cord blood collection kit. Not everyone who meets basic guidelines will be able to donate because of the limited capacity of cord blood banks.

While you are in the hospital

More than 25,000 patients around the world have received cord blood transplants from donations to public cord blood banks.
  1. When you arrive at the hospital, tell the labor and delivery team you are donating umbilical cord blood.
  2. After your baby is delivered, the umbilical cord is clamped and blood from the umbilical cord and placenta are collected into a sterile bag.
  3. You will be asked for a blood sample to be tested for infectious diseases. This blood is taken only from you, not your baby.
  4. Keep a copy of the informed consent in case you need to contact the cord blood bank at a later date.
  5. Shortly after your baby’s birth, the cord blood unit is delivered to the public cord blood bank.

What happens at the cord blood bank?

After the cord blood unit arrives at the cord blood bank, it is:

  1. Checked to be sure it has enough blood-forming cells for a transplant. If there are too few cells, the cord blood unit may be used for research related to using cord blood for transplant.
  2. Tested to be sure it’s free from infectious diseases.
  3. Tissue typed and listed on Be The Match Registry where it will be available for patients in need of a transplant. To protect your family’s privacy, the cord blood is identified only by number and never by name.
  4. Frozen in a liquid nitrogen freezer and stored.

Doctors search Be The Match Registry for donated cord blood units and bone marrow donors to find a match when their patient needs a transplant.

Questions?

Read Cord Blood FAQs.

Call us toll-free (in the United States) at 1 (800) MARROW-2  (1-800-627-7692).