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Umbilical Cord Donation Program

We are proud to partner with the Arizona Public Cord Blood Program to provide our expectant parents with the option of donating their baby’s umbilical cord blood to the national registry where it could save the life of someone with a life-threatening disease, or in need of a stem cell transplant.

Years ago, when a baby was born, the umbilical cord blood was thrown away. But today, left over blood from the umbilical cord can be collected after your baby’s birth and donated to a public cord blood bank to help someone with a life-threatening disease. Cord blood transplants can help children and adults with life-threatening diseases such as leukemia, lymphoma, or genetic diseases. More than 35,000 patients around the world have received transplants from donations to the public cord blood banks according to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Did You Know?

  • Donating cord blood does not change your labor or delivery process. 
  • The donation process does not endanger the mother or baby.
  • Donation to a public bank is free – it does not cost you anything.
  • We value your privacy; so the names of cord blood donors are never shared.
  • Cord blood can be a life-saving treatment for cancer and genetic disorders.  Click here to hear Dylan’s story.

Umbilical Cord Blood Donation Options

You have three options when it comes to your baby's Cord Blood. You can choose to:

  • Donate your baby’s umbilical cord blood to a public cord blood bank, where it will be available to anyone who needs it; or
  • Pay to store it in a family private cord blood bank, where it is reserved for your own family; or
  • Do nothing and the cord will be discarded after birth.

Frequently Asked Questions

How is cord blood used?

The umbilical cord has blood-forming cells. These cells are collected, stored and made available for any patient who needs donated cells due to a disease in their own cells such as leukemia or a genetic disorder. A transplant replaces a patient’s unhealthy blood-forming cells with healthy ones.

How is cord blood collected?

As with every delivery, after your baby is born, the umbilical cord will be clamped and cut. The blood left in the umbilical cord is then collected and transferred to a public cord blood bank, processed and listed on the Be The Match® Registry.

Is donated cord blood always stored?

Not all donated cord blood is eligible to be banked. The collected cord blood unit must be large enough and free from infection or diseases. This ensures the cord blood unit is suitable for a patient needing a transplant.

Why are more donations needed?

Seven out of 10 people will not have a suitable matched donor in their family and will depend on the Be The Match Registry® to find a match. Adding more cord blood units to the registry increases the likelihood that all patients will find a match.

Racially and ethnically diverse donors are especially needed.

Patients are more likely to match tissue types with someone who shares their racial or ethnic heritage. And since nearly 35 percent of cord blood units used in NMDP transplants go to ethnically or racially diverse patients, we strongly encourage donations from all racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Am I eligible to donate?

You may be eligible to donate if you are:

  • Expecting a single birth.
  • Expecting a delivery of at least 34 weeks’ gestation.
  • At least 18 years old.

If you are interested in donating:

  • Let your health care provider know you would like to donate your baby’s cord blood.
  • When you arrive at the hospital let your nurse know that you would like to donate.
  • Talk to St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center Cord Blood Program coordinator to learn more and find out if you can donate.