Cord blood collections in Birmingham have doubled since the collection site went 24/7 at the beginning of January, enabling many more lives to be saved.
Birmingham Women’s Hospital is one of five hospitals in the UK where Anthony Nolan collects cord blood. Cord blood can be used in lifesaving stem cell transplants for patients with blood cancers, such as leukaemia. This provides a useful alternative for patients who cannot find a match on the adult bone marrow donor register.
In the UK alone last year, 65,000 litres of cord blood were discarded following births. 80% of transplant requests would be met if the UK saved just 50,000 cord blood units.
Fatma Hatimy, Senior Cord Blood Collection Co-ordinator at Anthony Nolan, says, ‘Since the cord blood site in Birmingham went 24/7, we have been able to dramatically increase the amount of cord blood we can collect. This will enable us to find more matches for people in need of stem cell transplants, and save more lives.’
The cord blood collection site in Birmingham opened in July 2012 and collected 312 units of cord blood in the first six months. From 1 January 2013, staff have been able to collect cord blood around the clock. This has led to a huge increase in donations and 195 cord blood units were collected in January and February 2013.
Guy Parkes, Head of Special Projects at Anthony Nolan, says, ‘We are urging all mothers-to-be in Birmingham who are giving birth in the hospital to consider donating their cord blood. On the day you give birth, you could give life – twice.’
Anthony Nolan collects cord blood at Birmingham Women's Hospital, Leicester Royal Infirmary, Leicester General Hospital, the Royal Free Hospital, and King's College Hospital. Mothers-to-be can find out more about donating their cord blood and register their interest here.