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How donating your newborn's umbilical cord blood can help others

Matthew Elkins, MD, PhD (photo by Jim Howe)

Matthew Elkins, MD, PhD
(photo by Jim Howe)

After a baby is born, the umbilical cord is cut and usually discarded as medical waste along with the placenta. But umbilical cord blood is rich with stem cells, which have been used to fight leukemia, lymphoma and some 80 other life-threatening diseases. The Upstate Cord Blood Bank, which is one of only two public cord blood banks in New York state, collects and stores donated cord blood. Its medical director, Matthew Elkins, MD, PhD, explains the process of donation. Parents may like the idea of helping another individual who needs a stem cell transplant, but some of the donations are used for research. Click here for more information, including paperwork that needs to be completed prior to donation and text and video explanations of cord blood and stem cells.