A Gift From Your Baby – a guest post by Trudi Goels

I was contacted by Trudi, of the Canadian Blood Services, who is trying to spread awareness around the National Public Cord Bank.  It is a great program that allows women to donate the cord, which is used to save lives already. I was, myself, interested in this program when I was delivering at BC Women’s, so I was happy to have Trudi write a guest post here.

Please read on to learn more about this amazing program.

A Gift From Your Baby

When we think of babies and gifts, we think of giving them to newborns. But have you ever thought about receiving a gift from a newborn?

At birth, you and your baby share an amazing lifesaving gift: umbilical cord blood. Cord blood is rich in stem cells, which can be used for life saving transplants. There are more than 80 illnesses that can be treated with a stem cell transplant, such as leukemia and aplastic anemia.

Canadian Blood Services can collect cord blood after a healthy delivery at BC Women’s Hospital & Health Center, and if the cord blood unit meets all of the criteria for storing, it will be listed on a database that makes it available for a patient in need of a transplant. A patient like Aaryan. http://www.match4aary.com/

Aaryan is only 11 years old and for more than a year he has been living with aplastic anemia.  It’s a condition where the bone marrow fails to produce enough new blood cells. In a healthy body, the stem cells in our bone marrow mature and become healthy red cells, white cells, and platelets.  Aaryan’s stem cells aren’t doing that for him.  This is why he needs a transplant.

Aaryan has an added challenge. He is has a multi-ethnic background, with Vietnamese and Afghan heritage.  For a patient to find a compatible donor, they are matched through Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) typing.  Patients are more likely to find a match from someone who shares the same ethnicity.  The number of people who share Aaryan’s unique ethnic background are few, and even fewer have registered to donate stem cells or have donated their cord blood.

You have a unique opportunity to help Aaryan and patients like him by donating your cord blood if you meet the following guidelines:

-Healthy (mother and baby) with no medical conditions that could be passed on to a patient;
-Mothers must be 18 years of age or older, and have a signed consent form prior to labour starting (you can download the form here https://blood.ca/en/cord-blood/how-do-i-donate
-Mothers reaching 34 weeks or later in their pregnancy
-Mothers not having a multiple pregnancy (i.e. twins, triplets)
-Mothers fluent in English or French
-Mothers delivering at one of the five designated collection hospitalswhere the Canadian Blood Services Cord Blood Bank is operational

At the time of delivery your physician or midwife will determine if the cord blood collection may proceed. There is no cost to donate your baby’s cord blood

Like Aaryan, Nate needed a stem cell transplant.  His mom would like you to consider donating your cord blood, so that you can help people like her son.
Click here to watch a video about this.

For more information visit https://blood.ca/en/cordblood

Trudi Goels is the Stem Cell Territory Manager for Canadian Blood Services in British Columbia/Yukon. She has a deep passion for helping patients by providing education and opportunities for people to save lives through blood donation, registering as a stem cell donor, donating cord blood or becoming an organ and tissue donor.  She’s the mom of one amazing teenaged son and step-mom to her two fabulous bonus-kids.  
She can be reached at Trudi.goels@blood.ca if you’d like to know more or you can always visit www.blood.ca   She’d be remiss if she didn’t tell you – it’s in you to give. 

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