Who Can Donate Cord Blood?
Canada needs donors from all ethnic backgrounds. A more diverse cord blood supply means we have better chances of finding a match when someone needs a transplant. The best opportunity for a successful match is typically from someone of the same ethnic background.
To be able to donate cord blood, you must:
- Be at least 18 years old and in generally good heath
- Have reached at least 34 weeks’ gestation
- Be carrying a single pregnancy
- Be free of infectious diseases that could affect successful transplantation of cells, such as HIV/AIDS or hepatitis
- Be free of diseases or medical conditions that could be passed on to a patient who receives a cord blood stem cell transplant
As well, neither you nor the baby’s father should have a history of cancer requiring chemotherapy.
Cord Blood Donation is Safe
Donating cord blood does not interfere with the natural process of delivery. Because blood stem cells are collected from the umbilical cord and/or placenta after the baby is delivered, there are no significant risks to you or your baby.
With every cord blood donation, Canadian Blood Services is required to test the mother’s blood for diseases such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV, the virus that causes AIDS), hepatitis B and C, human T-lymphotropic virus (HTVL), syphilis and West Nile Virus (WNV). The baby’s cord blood will also be tested to determine its match to patient and blood type, and to confirm the blood does not contain cytomegalovirus or hemoglobin abnormalities such as sickle cell disease.
Where to Donate Cord Blood
Canadian Blood Services’ Cord Blood Bank takes donations in:
- Ottawa — at the Ottawa Hospital General and Civic campuses
- Brampton (Greater Toronto Area) — at the William Osler Health System’s Brampton Civic Hospital
- Edmonton — at the Alberta Health Services’ Lois Hole Hospital for Women
- Vancouver — at the BC Women’s Hospital and Health Centre