Piedmont Hospital starts cord blood donation program

11:19 AM, Dec 10, 2012   |    comments
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Essie Williams and baby Yale are among the first to take part in Piedmont Hospital's new cord blood donation program.

ATLANTA -- Yale Williams is three days old and full of potential.

So is his blood. That's why his mom agreed to donate blood from his umbilical cord to a public cord blood bank.

"What's important to me is that it will be used to help someone else," said Essie Williams. 

The Williams are among the first to take part in a new program at Piedmont Hospital that allows new moms to donate their cord blood to the Cleveland Cord Blood Center.

The public bank uses it for the treatment of blood disorders like lymphoma and leukemia.

"The majority of cord bloods in the world are discarded as medical waste," said Marcie Finney with the Cleveland Cord Blood Center. "So this program allows us to keep the cord blood and possibly use it for treatment to possibly save someone's life."

It only takes a small amount that's collected after the baby is born.

Because the immune cells aren't trained yet, cord blood is easier to match than bone marrow for stem cell transplants.

"It's basically extending opportunities for people to have medical treatment," Essie Williams said.

Private banks can be expensive, but this program is free.

It's like giving life twice.

Piedmont Hospital received a $1.3 million grant from the Katz Foundation to pay for the cord blood donation program for the next three years.

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