Houghton Regis mum on why she donated her cord blood
When expectant mum Samantha Blank from Houghton Regis was approached about blood cord donation '“ blood left in the placenta and umbilical cord '“ she thought she'd be ineligible because she had gestational diabetes.
Cord blood is rich in stem cells and can be used to cure leukaemia, immune disorders and other life-threatening illnesses, but the placenta and umbilical cord are usually discarded after birth.
Samantha was told that with gestational diabetes, the placenta is bigger – which means there are normally more stem cells.
The mother-of-two agreed to the donation because she felt the tissue would be going to a good cause instead of being thrown away: “I feel what happens at the cord bank is very special and I would encourage other mums to do the same to help others.”
Since the NHS Cord Blood Bank was set up at the Luton & Dunstable Hospital in 2004, more than 5,000 cord blood units have been collected and 90 have been issued for transplantation. The last went to a 22-year-old Dutch patient to treat acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
Team manager Tracy Harris said: “Many expectant mums may not realise the L&D is a collection site so we want to make them aware. This is a chance for them to help save a life and donating is really easy – our team does the rest after they have given birth.”
> More info at www.nhsbt.nhs.uk/cordblood