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Postnatal Donation Information


In Indiana, the Postnatal Donation Initiative, created in 2016 through Senate Enrolled Act 315, established that the Indiana Department of Health would take the lead in promoting awareness concerning a pregnant woman’s option to donate postnatal fluid, including umbilical cord blood, as well as postnatal tissue, including the placenta and tissue extracted from the umbilical cord.

Potential Postnatal Donation Information

  • Which hospitals in Indiana collect donated postnatal tissue, including cord blood?

    Lifeline Stem Cell

  • What is umbilical cord blood?

    Umbilical cord blood or cord blood is the blood that stays in the umbilical cord and placenta after the birth of your baby. This blood contains special cells called stem cells that can help treat diseases in children and adults.  The stem cells in cord blood are very simple and undeveloped, and can be transplanted in persons to treat a number of life-threatening diseases.

    Stem cells from cord blood are different from embryonic stem cells that come from developing human or animal embryos. Cord blood stem cells do not come from embryos.  In the past, cord blood was usually discarded after the infant was delivered. Cord blood can now be collected and stored in a cord blood bank for future use.

  • Who can benefit from the stem cells in umbilical cord blood?

    Stem cells in cord blood can help build new, healthy cells and can be transplanted in people to treat a number of life-threatening conditions.  An individual can receive his or her own cord blood for treatment, or more commonly, a person will receive umbilical cord blood donated from someone else. Your baby’s umbilical cord can be a lifeline for someone who is very ill.

    Transplants of cord blood stem cells have been used for many years to treat more than 80 diseases, including conditions such as:

    • Leukemia;
    • Myelodysplastic Syndromes;
    • Lymphoma;
    • Anemias;
    • Sickle Cell Disease;
    • Disorders of blood cell proliferation;
    • Inherited disorders of the immune system and other organs;
    • Inherited metabolic disorders; and
    • Solid tumors not originating in the blood or immune system.

    Treatment of these disorders using cord blood is not experimental. Research on emerging therapies in which the patient’s own cells are used to repair the body may increase the use of cord blood that is stored for personal use. Scientists are studying whether cord blood can be used to treat other common disorders of the heart, bones, liver, and brain, as well as other conditions including diabetes and Parkinson’s Disease.

    For a complete list of diseases and conditions in which postnatal donation tissue is standard therapy, is in clinical trials or is experimental, please visit Parent’s Guide to Cord Blood Foundation.

  • How is cord blood collected and is it safe?

    Collecting cord blood is safe for both babies and mothers.  The collection will not affect your baby’s health or your birth experience because cord blood is collected after your baby is born.  If you would like your baby’s cord blood to be collected and stored for future use, you must make arrangements in advance with either a public or private cord blood bank of your choice.

    After your baby is born, cord blood is collected from the umbilical cord and placed in a special container that is sent to a cord blood bank.  The cord blood and mother’s blood samples are then processed and tested.  If the mother’s blood sample identifies the presence of infectious disease, she will be notified. Once the cord blood bank decides the cord blood can be used, it is stored for future use.

  • What is the difference between public donation and private storage?

    Cord blood is frozen after it is collected and stored in cord blood banks.  It is important to remember that not all families are eligible to donate cord blood and not all cord blood collections will meet the requirements for public storage.  If you donate your cord blood, publicly or privately, there is no guarantee that the sample will be a match and will be used in the future.  There are two types of cord blood banks:  public cord blood banks and private cord blood banks.

    Public Cord Blood Banking

    Public cord blood banks collect and store donated cord blood stem cells for use with anyone who is in need of a stem cell transplantation.  They do not charge donation fees.  Public banks do not reserve the umbilical cord blood for the family that donated them.  The donations are made available to the general public in order to find the best match.  No information about you or your baby is provided to the patient receiving the cord blood.  Each year, many adults and children receive life-saving treatment from umbilical cord blood that families have chosen to publicly donate.

    Cord blood does not have to be exactly matched to the patient receiving it, but when donated cells closely match the patient, their chances of transplant success improve.  Patients are more likely to match someone who shares their racial or ethnic heritage.  Cord blood donations are very important to secure transplants for patients who are of minority or mixed heritage, as the need for donations is great but the supply is small.

    The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends public donation of umbilical cord blood for all families; however, private banking can be considered only if a full sibling has a medical diagnosis for which stem cells are being used for treatment.

    If you choose to donate your baby’s umbilical cord blood to a public bank where it is made available to others, much like donating blood, it should not cost you any money.  Ask your provider if there will be any charge to collect the blood at the hospital.

    Private Cord Blood Banking

    A private cord blood bank is a commercial, for-profit organization that advertises directly to parents. If you choose to store your cord blood privately, it will only be available for use by your family and will not be available to public banks for unrelated transplants or research. Private banking allows you to have your baby’s cord blood collected and stored for your baby or another close family member if ever needed. Private donation banks usually charge an initial fee for collection and processing and then charge an annual fee for storage. Banking your baby’s cord blood in a private bank might provide a match for your baby or siblings. However, there is no guarantee that the cord blood will be a match or will be used in the future.

    Choosing either a public or private cord blood bank is a personal decision that you should make for yourself after reviewing information and having a discussion with your health care provider.

  • Additional Information

Postnatal Donation Provider Information

  • What is collected?

    Cord blood is blood from fetal circulation and is what remains in the umbilical cord and placenta after birth. Within it are hematopoietic stem cells that can be used to treat some diseases and may be beneficial for research. Generally, 85mL (approximately 3 oz.) are collected after delivery so that an adequate number of stem cells are retrieved.

  • How do I collect cord blood?

    Each bank has specific directions on how to collect and ship the cord blood units. Depending on which bank you use, it will be important to become familiar with their individual collection, packaging, and shipping procedures.

    Collection is usually performed after the baby is born and the placenta has been delivered. Blood should be collected as soon as possible following delivery to avoid clotting and to maximize sample retrieval. Each collection kit should contain specific instructions regarding collection. General instructions for collection are as follows: The placenta is suspended from a collection stand and the umbilical cord is subsequently sterilized. A 16 gauge needle, which is connected to the collection bag (which contains anticoagulant solution), is inserted into the umbilical vein for sample retrieval.

  • What are the contraindications to collect cord blood?

    Each bank has certain criteria that would be considered contraindications for the collections of cord blood. While each bank may differ slightly, the most common contraindications for all banks are the following:

    • HIV
    • Hepatitis B & C
    • Recent incarceration
    • Recent travel to malaria endemic areas of the world
    • Cancer
    • Autoimmune diseases
    • Recent STD’s
    • Drug use

    In addition, cord blood should never be collected if the collection  would compromise the safety of mother or baby. Early cord clamping for cord blood collection should never take precedence over treating fetal anemia or hypovolemia.

    If you decide to store cord blood, you will need to choose a cord blood bank. Listed are some questions to ask yourself when deciding on a bank:

    • Does the bank meet the proper accreditation requirements?:  Cord blood banks should be regulated and inspected by the FDA.
    • How is the cord blood shipped?: After cord blood collection, cells begin to die which is why it is important for cord blood to be shipped in a timely manner.
    • How quickly is cord blood processed?:  Cord blood should be processed within 48 hours.
    • Does the bank have clinical experience with transplants?:  Banks should have experience with releasing cord blood for transplant and for experimental therapies.
  • What public and private banks are in Indiana?
    • Public Banks:
      • None at this time
  • Do patients need to sign a consent form in order to donate to a cord blood bank?
  • Is there anything that can be done with donated samples that are not eligible for use in transplant?

    Collection of cord blood requires informed consent, which is usually provided by the mother, however, involvement of the father in the consenting process is encouraged. Parents should be educated on cord blood collection and its possible uses. In addition to consent, parents need to fill out a medical/social questionnaire.