SYRACUSE — Crouse Health will give parents who deliver babies at the Syracuse hospital the chance to voluntarily donate the blood from their baby’s umbilical cord to the cord-blood bank at Upstate Medical University.
The Upstate Cord Blood Bank operates at Upstate’s Community campus at 4900 Broad Road in Onondaga.
The new partnership will “potentially” increase cord-blood donations that will be available for public use, Crouse Health said in a news release.
“We are pleased to welcome Crouse Health parents to participate in donating their child’s umbilical cord blood to the Upstate Cord Blood Center at Upstate Medical University,” Dr. Matthew Elkins, medical director of the Upstate Cord Blood Bank, said in the Crouse release.
Cord-blood donation is “completely safe” for mother and baby; labor and delivery is not affected, Crouse Health said. No blood is taken from a newborn. It is only removed from the umbilical cord after birth. The designation of Upstate Cord Blood Bank as a public blood bank is “important” in that there is no cost to donate and donated cord blood is available to anyone who needs it.
Thousands of critically ill patients with blood diseases such as leukemia and lymphoma are in urgent need of life-saving transplants. Umbilical cord blood, which is typically discarded as medical waste, is “rich” with the blood-forming cells that can give blood-cancer patients hope for a cure, the hospital added.
Once donated, Upstate stores the cord blood in the bank, making it available to transplant centers in the U.S. and throughout the world for patients in need. The cord blood units will be listed on national and international registries in order to be matched to the patients who need them.
Any units collected that are not suitable for transplantation will be made available to researchers, both at Upstate Medical University and around the country, Crouse Health said.
Deciding whether to donate cord blood is “best done” during the early months of pregnancy.
The expectant parents complete various forms and submit them directly to the cord-blood bank no more than 30 days prior to delivery. Once reviewed and approved, the bank notifies Crouse’s labor and delivery unit, which reviews the potential donation with the mother before actual delivery. Once the blood is removed from the umbilical cord, the donation is then packaged and transported to Upstate’s 20,000-square-foot facility that features a processing laboratory and cryogenic storage containers, the release explained.