What is the Cord Blood Bank?
The Medical College of Wisconsin Cord Blood Bank is an extension of the MCW Tissue Bank, a secure storage facility where blood and tissue samples are kept for future research. The cord blood program differs from the main portion of the bank in that it only stores the blood from an umbilical cord for use in future research by Froedtert and MCW staff. A woman can choose to make a one-time donation with any birth.
What is Cord Blood?
Cord blood is the blood that remains in the blood vessels of the placenta and the umbilical cord after a baby is born. After the birth, the baby no longer needs this extra blood and it can be collected for future use.
Cord blood contains all normal elements of blood: red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and plasma. All of these are produced by stem cells, also known as hematopoietic (blood forming) stem cells. These stems cells have the ability to “fit in” with other cells, adapting to suit the needs of the body. Unlike other cells within the body, they are non-specific, and can ensure the reproduction and healthy growth of cells in all parts of the body, rather than just in a particular area of the body. Stem cells also have the unique ability to renew and replicate themselves and can join the cells of the kidney, liver, heart or any other tissue or organ of the body.
Why Cord Blood for Research?
Cord blood is an essential source of stem cells. Stem cell research is dependent on this resource, which could help extend life. Banking cord blood and making it available to researchers is essential to future research that could potentially extend many lives.
The discovery that the umbilical cord blood is rich in stem cells has provided medical experts with a valuable resource that could lead the way to future medical treatment. Cord blood is increasingly being used on an experimental basis. It is thought that in the future, cord blood stem cells could be used not only to regenerate blood cells following operations and transplants but to treat diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and many more.
How is Cord Blood Collected?
Umbilical cord blood is collected after giving birth. As standard procedure, a birthing specialist will clamp and cut the umbilical cord. Instead of discarding the cord and blood, a small area of the cord, adjacent to the clamp, is sanitized and a needle is inserted into the umbilical cord vein and either drawn out with a syringe or the blood is allowed to drain naturally into a blood collection bag. The blood will then be processed and stored cryogenically.
How Do I Participate?
You may be asked to take part in the Medical College of Wisconsin Tissue Bank’s Research Cord Blood Bank if you are being seen at Froedtert Hospital. As a patient, you have the option to allow the Medical College of Wisconsin Research Cord Blood Bank to store your cord blood along with identifying information related to your specimens, such as your name, date of birth, and sex.
Your specimens would be stored for possible use in future research studies. These studies may result in the discovery of medication, advancement of treatments, and even possible cures for diseases. You will not be paid for your specimens, receive any payment from patents or products that result from the research, nor be allowed to use the cord blood for future personal use.
Your Privacy is Important to Us
While we make every effort to keep your information confidential, it is possible that an unauthorized person might see it. To guard against this, information in the Tissue Bank (Research Cord Blood Bank) is password-protected and access to the bank is limited to authorized personnel.
The Medical College of Wisconsin is required by law to protect your health information; however, the law does afford exceptions for certain agencies and persons to see and share your health information for research. These may include the sponsors of the research; the Food and Drug Administration; Department of Health and Human Services; and/or Data Safety Monitoring Boards.
The Medical College of Wisconsin only provides your health information to these groups when required by law or approved by the Institutional Review Board.
If you are considering donating your cord blood, please read the consent form. Then contact an MCW Tissue Bank employee to set up a time to sign the form and answer any questions you may have during your next appointment.
MCW Tissue Bank Phone (414)805-8829.