Newsroom > DHHS News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 4, 2010

CONTACTS
Marla Augustine, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-4047 or marla.augustine@nebraska.gov

State Senator Colby Coash, District 27, (402) 471-2632 or ccoash@leg.ne.gov

Information about Umbilical Cord Blood Banking and Donation Available on DHHS Website


Lincoln—The banking and donation of umbilical cord blood is being promoted, thanks to efforts by State Senator Colby Coash, District 27. At his request, information about banking and donation is now on the website of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

“I am pleased to work with the DHHS Division of Public Health’s Lifespan Health Services Unit to provide life-enhancing information to Nebraska families,” said Senator Coash. “By linking the DHHS website to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s website on umbilical cord blood use, we educate Nebraska’s mothers on opportunities to treat family illnesses, both short-term and long-term. Current medical journals cite 75 illnesses treated by cord blood. Furthermore, we encourage a shift away from high cost, intensive medical treatment and towards lower cost early treatment and disease prevention.”

Blood from the umbilical cord and placenta is unique because it contains a relatively large number of blood-forming cells. These cells may save the life of a person who has a disease such as leukemia or lymphoma or certain inherited metabolic or immune system disorders. A cord blood transplant, like a bone marrow transplant, replaces a patient’s diseased cells with healthy cells.

The umbilical cord is routinely discarded after the baby is born—unless the parents choose otherwise. Today, expectant parents have four choices if they choose to save the blood in the umbilical cord and placenta.

They can:

Donate the blood to a public cord blood bank. This would make the blood available to patients who need a transplant. Currently, only certain hospitals are able to collect the blood for storage in public cord blood banks.

Have it stored in a private family cord blood bank. This blood is saved for that family, which pays for the storage and collection.

Save it for a family member who has a medical need. When a biological sibling or parent has a disease that may be treated with a bone marrow or cord blood transplant, parents can choose to save their baby’s cord blood for directed donation.

Used for research studies by a laboratory or technology company. Studies may help improve the transplant process for future patients or may lead to new therapies. The collection process is free.

Expectant parents should talk to their health care provider about the available options.

“By making the decision to donate, parents can take steps to have umbilical cord blood collected and possibly give someone another chance at life,” said Dr. Joann Schaefer, Chief Medical Officer and Director of Public Health in the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

For more information, go to http://www.dhhs.ne.gov/publichealth/Pages/lifespanhealth.aspx or www.hrsa.gov .

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