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How can I donate my umbilical cord?

We can currently collect cord blood from five hospitals in the UK:

If you’re giving birth in one of our five cord collection hospitals, you can register to donate your baby’s cord blood.

How does donating cord blood work?

It’s a simple, safe, and swift procedure. Once your baby has been safely born, vaginally or by caesarean, the umbilical cord will be clamped as normal. Once the placenta has been delivered, one of our cord collectors will take your cord and placenta to a separate room to extract the blood.

We’ll then transport the cord blood to our Cell Therapy Centre in Nottingham, make sure it’s suitable for transplant, and freeze it in our cord bank until it’s needed.

That’s it! One day, your baby’s cord blood could save someone’s life. Not bad for something that’s often thrown away, right?

You can find out more about the cord donation process in this leaflet, or watch our handy animation below:

Am I eligible?

To make sure we collect the healthiest cord blood possible, we have strict criteria for donors.

Transcript for video: 'How to be a cord blood donor'

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Anthony Nolan is the charity that saves
the life of people with blood cancer,

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like Leukemia or Lymphoma.

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Everyday we use our stem cells register,
to match our remarkable donors to

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people they've never met

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who're in need of a life saving transplant,
as well as recruiting donors to the register.

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Anthony Nolan also run an umbilical cord
blood collection too.

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We collect umbilical cords and placentas

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which are otherwise thrown away,
extract the blood from them,

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and then gather those fantastic lifesaving
stem cells from the blood.

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These stem cells are stored at our bank in
Nottingham and can be very useful indeed.

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In the next few minutes, we'll explain what's
involved when you donate your cord.

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Your pregnant, and
about to create a life.

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Donating your umbilical means you can also
have a chance to save a life.

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Our program operates in a few key hospitals.
So check this website.

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To see where you can donate your cord.

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Why is umbilical cord blood,
so fantastic?

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A patient in need of transplant, needs a donor
who closely matches their tissue type.

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It is often a huge challenge to find
a matching donor.

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Especially if the patient is from an ethnic
minority.

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but the stem cells in cord blood,
are adaptable.

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So they don't have to be as perfectly matched
to patient as stem cells from an adult donor.

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This means there are more flexible options for
patients with mix-raced or uncommon tissue types.

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Also, as the cord stem cells are stored in our
cord blood bank,

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they are available straight away,
unlike when the donor is an adult.

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Where things can sometimes take
weeks to arrange.

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Time that a sick patient might not have.

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You're having your baby and
we know it's the most important thing in the world.

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We promise you that the collection
of your umbilical cord

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won't interfere with your birth plan in the slightest.
When you go in to have your baby,

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the maternity staff will see a sticker like this,

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which shows that you've consented
to donate your cord.

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They'll let our cord collection team know
that you've arrived, your midwife or consultant

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are entirely focused on you and your baby,
while you're in labor.

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We do not get in the way,
while you're giving birth.

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Once you've had your baby, the cord will be
cut and the placenta will be delivered.

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Once all this has happened, our dedicated cord
collector will come into the room,

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and collect cord and placenta from your midwife.
And that's that.

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They will take the placenta and umbilical
cord into a separate area,

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most women say that
they don't notice this happening

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as they have more exciting things to focus on.

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We do our utmost to collect cords from
all of those who generously agreed to donate.

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But we should say here, we can't 100% guarantee
that we'll be able to collect your donation,

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Maternity wards can be very busy places,

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and we only have a small but
very good team to collect them all.

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So it all depends on whether all our collectors
are busy attending other collections,

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it's really unlikely that we will not be able
to collect though.

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We really do want your donation.

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So, if you're interested in doing
something amazing,

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please talk to your midwife about
umbilical cord donation.

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You will also information about donating
in the antenatal reception area.

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Talk to your partner or your family,
about your decision to donate.

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Once you've decided to donate, get in touch
with us by filling our pre-consent form online.

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Or using one of the flyers that you will find
in your booking-in pack from the hospital.

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Once we hear from you,
we'll arrange a time to talk.

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In order to be able to collect your
umbilical cord and placenta,

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we need your full legal consent.
Ask as many questions as you'd like,

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to make sure you're happy about donating.
Please be assured that it's free to donate.

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We'll need to ask you some medical questions.
Once you've given us your consent,

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we'll give you a big sticker like this,
to put on your maternity note.

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You will decide your birth plan with
your midwife,

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and we'll fit in with whatever you decide.

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As long as you're giving birth at a hospital
where we collect, we can collect your cord.

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However, if you don't manage to go through
all the steps of consent before

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you come in to have your baby,

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we can still sort that out when you come on
to the labor ward to give birth.

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As long as you're comfortable talking to us,
and it's before you're in established labor,

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we can do all the paperwork with you then.

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After you've given birth, and have had a good rest,
we'll come in to say a big thank you.

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We will usually need to take a blood sample
from you and we'll try to coordinate this

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with the other blood you're giving.

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About six months later, we'll get
in touch with you to say thank you again.

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And check on the health of your baby.

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So, what happens to your umbilical cord
and placenta?

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As soon as we take the placenta and
umbilical cord from the midwife,

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we take it into a separate are and extract
the blood from the placenta and cord, and store it

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in a special bag.
We weight the sample, label it and refrigerate it.

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Everyday the cord blood we collect
at each hospital

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is picked-up in a dedicated courier run and
taken to our cord blood bank in Nottingham.

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Once it gets to our bank,
our scientists analyse the blood

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and see how many live saving stem cells
there are in it.

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Based on the number of stem cells contains,

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we'll decide if the sample can be
used in a lifesaving transplant,

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or whether it's best used as part of our
research or by our research partners.

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Even if it's used in research, it will still go on
to potentially save lives.

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As researchers are looking into how stem cells
can help treat conditions like Parkinsons,

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diabetes, Alzheimer
and many others illnesses.

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As well as how to improve
the success of stem cells transplants.

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If you're sample is kept for a transplant,
it will be tested to find out what its tissue type is.

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And they will go into one of our
cryogenic freezers.

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It can stay here for more than
25 years.

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70% of all people who need
a stem cells transplant

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will need a match from outside their family,
so one day the stem cells in your cord blood,

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might well be the best chance,
for someone with blood cancer.

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The healthy stem cells are the things
for the person who will receive your donation,

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that for whatever reason, their body
can't generate for themselves.

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Those cells in your umbilical cord, will kick-start
their system into action.

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And start a recovery from a very vulnerable state.

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It's amazing, you will have potentially
saved a life.

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On the date you give birth to a new life,

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your donation could save another in the future.

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Isn't that great?