Saving Lives at Birth

| June 1, 2012 | 0 Comments

It’s not often that we can actually say that we have an opportunity to save someone’s life, and it can be a family member, or, a total stranger. What I am referring to is that mothers-to-be across San Diego County can save another life every time they bring a life into the world. Thanks to a brand new and very special partnership between Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns and Southern California family cord blood bank StemCyte.

What most of us know, at the moment of delivery a baby’s precious umbilical cord blood is often thrown away as medical waste. Today, parents can choose to privately bank it. Expecting parents can also choose to donate their baby’s umbilical cord blood.

The National Marrow Donor Program’s “Be The Match Registry®” and Southern California cord blood bank StemCyte is making this possible and there is no cost to the mother. Once collected, the cord blood is processed and it becomes available in the Be The Match Registry® database, providing access to cord blood for any patient who needs a transplant. Today, there are over 10,000 people waiting to find a match and only half receive one.

Public cord blood donations are so vital and it’s very special that Sharp Mary Birch is offering this – because very few hospitals in the U.S. do. Cord blood can now be used to treat over 70 diseases, including cancer and spinal chord injuries.

Dr. Willert is a Senior Transplant Physician and Pediatric Oncologist at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego and the chief medical advisor for StemCyte. Dr. Willert uses unrelated (donated) umbilical cord blood often in transplants with her patients at Rady’s. She’s a huge advocate for cord blood banking education and hopes to spread the word to all parents that, whatever you do, do not let your baby’s precious cord blood be thrown away.

I recently spoke to Greg Steinberg, StemCyte’s regional manager. He shared with me the importance of educating the population on this amazing opportunity, and life changing and saving gift. He said that people around the world are benefitting from donated cord blood. And, it’s not just for children. Adults with cancer, spinal injuries, genetic errors and juvenile Diabetes can also be recipients.

Steinberg offered that one of the major benefits of donated cord blood is that is safer and has less complications than bone marrow donations. The umbilical cored also provides more stem cells, which is again, an obvious benefit.

And though there is a state mandate that obstetricians educate their clients on this opportunity. Many don’t realize what a valuable gift this is. I encourage everyone to visit to learn more about this program and do your part to spread the word. Around the world, and here in San Diego, there are children and adults in need of this precious life saving and changing donation.

Category: Local News

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