Cancer and Cord Blood Donation: How New Life Brings New Hope

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By Erin Horne, Cord Blood Bank Program, MD Anderson Cancer Center

Every day as new babies are born, staff members at the MD Anderson Cord Blood Bank hit the road and get busy collecting cord blood donations to add to our nation's stem cell registry, the National Marrow Donor Program. This registry links physicians, patients and donors to find suitable matches, making stem cell transplants possible. 

cbb.jpgA stem cell transplant is one option for patients affected by leukemia, lymphoma and other life-threatening cancers and blood diseases. In recent years, cord blood has become a growing source of these stem cells, as physicians have come to realize how rich this blood is in new blood-forming cells.  

Cord blood donation is also becoming a more popular option among mothers and families, as they begin to better understand its importance in the treatment of these diseases. The fact is, if it's not banked and stored for future use, the placenta and cord blood are discarded after birth. Why not take advantage of this great opportunity instead of allowing it to be wasted?

Cord blood collection is quick, simple, painless and causes no harm to the mother or new baby. When donated to a public bank, like MD Anderson's Cord Blood Bank, it's free and it gives transplant patients an even greater chance of being paired with a suitable match.

Your new baby holds the possibility of extending the life of another person and bringing new hope to another family.

If you or a loved one is expecting and interested in donating your child's cord blood, contact the Cord Blood Bank office at 866-869-5111 or 713-563-8000 or by e-mail at

1 Comment

There were a number of comments to this post that came in via our Facebook page ( Including a question answered by the author Erin Horne.

J.L. Fox-Infante (question) If u have a cord banked can they save enough for the baby in case it was needed AND use it for a donor match?

Erin Horne (author response)
Generally speaking, cord blood donations have limited cell numbers and are not used for more than one patient.

And, although donations stored in a public bank are available to anyone in need, it is possible that if the unit is still available, it could be searched and selected (anonymously) for you or your family. If your physician determines that a stem cell transplant is the best treatment option, he or she would search the national registry using normal procedures to find the best match for you at that time. It's also likely that a better match (higher cell count) could be found as well

L. Barnett
I just started the process of donation... :)

M. Pennington-Sinyard
The most amazing gift you can give. Please consider. If you are not going to bank it yourself then PLEASE donate it.

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