Donating Cord Blood

Could saving your baby’s cord blood save his or her life? Yes! There are approximately 80 different disease or conditions treated by cord blood-derived stem cells.  Some of the more familiar and commonly known diseases or conditions include Hodgkin’s lymphoma, leukemia, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The easiest way to determine whether you should consider private cord blood banking is to review the list of diseases and conditions treated by cord blood-derived stem cells to see if you have a family history of these conditions.You can click here to see the full list.
Having a family history doesn’t mean your child will need cord blood; it just means there may be an increased chance they could.  If you don’t have a family history of these diseases or conditions, you may want to consider donating cord blood to someone who does. You can learn more about donating with Cord for Life.
Instead of discarding your newborn’s cord blood, consider donating to the nationwide public inventory.  Donating cord blood is free, without risk, and simple.  Unless prevented by an infection or some other disqualifying reason, donating cord blood should be the normal course for families who are choosing not to privately store their baby’s cord blood.

Why Donate Cord Blood?

Cord blood is the residual blood found in the umbilical cord after the baby has been delivered.  It contains stem cells that fueled the development of your child while in the womb.
After your child is born, these same stem cells have properties that can be used by others in the treatment of various conditions or diseases.  Stem cells from cord blood have been treating and saving lives for over 30 years now.
By donating your child’s stem cells to the National Marrow Donor Program’s Be The Match® Registry, they will be available for someone in need of a stem cell transplant. If you don’t plan to privately store your child’s cord blood, then donating it may help save a life.
It is safe, free, easy and the choice is yours.  Donate and save lives or discard it as medical waste.  Complete this form to learn more or get started with donating your cord blood.

Are you a Minority?

Like bone marrow transplants, stem cell transplants require a genetic match.  This means that stem cells are more likely to match someone with a similar ethnic background who is in need.
The Be The Match Registry is working to build a nationwide public inventory of cord blood units that matches the demographics of the United States to give everyone an opportunity to find a match.  Their success depends on donors with different ethnic backgrounds.
This means that if you are pregnant and a minority, choosing to donate is extremely important.  It’s also important to spread the word to other minority friends you know who are also expecting.
Minority populations should not lose out, but the only way for that to happen is for people like you to choose to donate their baby’s cord blood.  It’s free, simple and risk-free.

Disqualifications for Donating Cord Blood

There are situations or conditions that prevent an individual from donating blood and the same is true for cord blood donations.  Here is a quick look at the most common circumstances that disqualify someone from making a cord blood donation:

  • Under 18 Year of Age
  • Pregnancy with twins or multiples
  • Insulin Dependence
  • Autoimmune disease/disorder in the immediate family
  • Cancer in the immediate family
  • Platelet – blood cell diseases
  • HIV, Hepatitis A, B, or C
  • Syphilis or gonorrhea if experienced in the last 12 months
  • West Nile if experienced while pregnant
  • IV drug use
  • Transfer of money or drugs for sex in the past 12 months
  • Having sex with a man who has had sex with a man in the past 12 months
  • Piercing or tattoos with shared or non-sterile materials
  • Travel to a malaria-risk area (one year for visiting, three years for residents)*

*Commonly visited areas with a malaria risk: Bangladesh, Cambodia, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Laos, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Rwanda, Sudan, Uganda, Venezuela, Zambia or Zimbabwe.

What about drug use?

Drug use, in general, does NOT disqualify a cord blood donation apart from the conditions noted above.

What about STDs?

Apart from HIV and Hep C, most STD conditions do not cancel the opportunity to make a cord blood donation.  The only exception is for currently active infections.

Are there other conditions?

Yes, there are other conditions that will disqualify a donation; however, they are rare and even less likely than what is listed above.

Diseases and Conditions Treated by Cord Blood

The good news is the diseases and conditions listed below are rare.  The better news is that there is treatment through stem cells from cord blood to help with these situations.


Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), Burkitt’s Lymphoma, Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML), Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Chromic Myelomonocytic Leukemia (CMML), Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia (JMML), Lymphomatoid Granulomatosis, Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS), Neuroblastoma, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Blood Disorders:

E-β+ Thalassemia, E-βo Thalassemia, HbSC Disease, Sickle βo Thalassemia, Sickle-Cell Anemia (Hemoglobin SS), α-Thalassemia Major (Hydrops Fetalis), β-Thalassemia Intermedia, β-Thalassemia Major (Cooley’s Anemia)

Metabolic Disorders:

Adrenoleukodystrophy Gaucher’s Disease (Infantile), Alpha Mannosidosis, Gunther Disease, Hermansky-Pudlak Syndrome, Hunter Syndrome, Hurler Syndrome, Hurler-Scheie Syndrome, Krabbe Disease (Globoid Cell Leukodystrophy), Lesch-Nyhan Disease, Maroteaux-Lamy Syndrome, Metachromatic Leukodystrophy, Mucolipidosis Type II, III, Niemann Pick Syndrome, Type A and B, Sandhoff Syndrome, Sanfilippo Syndrome, Tay-Sachs Disease


Adenosine Deaminase Deficiency, Ataxia Telangiectasia, Chronic Granulomatous Disease, DiGeorge Syndrome, IKK Gamma Deficiency, Immune Dysregulation Polyendocrineopathy, Leukocyte Adhesion Deficiency, Myelokathexis X-linked Immunodeficiency, Omenn’s Syndrome, Reticular Dysplasia, Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, Thymic Dysplasia, Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome, X-Linked Agammaglobulinemia, X-Linked Lymphoproliferative Disease, X-Linked Mucolipidosis, Type II

Bone Marrow Failure Diseases:

Amegakaryocytic Thrombocytopenia, Congenital Dyserythropoietic Anemia, Congenital Sideroblastic Anemia, Cyclic Neutropenia, Diamond-Blackfan Anemia, Dyskeratosis Congenita, Evan’s Syndrome, Fanconi Anemia, Glanzmann’s Disease, Juvenile Dermatomyositis, Kostmann’s Syndrome, Red Cell Aplasia, Severe Aplastic Anemia, Shwachman Syndrome, Thrombocytopenia with absent radius (TAR Syndrome Autoimmune Neutropenia – Severe)
Be the Match,
Via Cord,
Parent’s Guide to Cord Blood,