The umbilical cord is a tissue that connects the developing fetus to the mother’s placenta. It is through it that the fetus receives all the nutrients and oxygenation to develop and grow until the day of its birth. After birth, as there is no longer any purpose as the baby must breathe alone and feed through breastfeeding, it is discarded as well as the placenta and all the waste from delivery. However, this happened before they discovered that the umbilical cord, when properly preserved at the time of delivery, could indeed have another purpose and even more, save lives.
After years and years of study, it was found that in the umbilical cord there is a strong concentration of hematopoietic stem cells , which are essential for the performance and success of a bone marrow transplant. That is why in 2001, the first umbilical cord and placental bank in Brazil, INCA, was created. It aims to increase the chances of finding compatible donors for patients who need bone marrow transplantation. This great evolutionary step in medicine, is currently responsible for helping millions of people, including children who suffer from different types of hematological diseases such as leukemia .
The services of the umbilical cord bank are indicated for patients who are in the fight against severe anemias, leukemias, lymphomas, congenital immunodeficiencies , osteopetrosis and other several diseases that affect the blood system and require bone marrow transplantation. And after verifying the bank’s success and how precious this type of service was, other hospitals are beginning to improve and use the same service to help those in need. As is the case of the Syrian-Lebanese hospital in partnership with Amparo Maternal, which is a public service and carried out completely free of charge by the Unified Health System (SUS).
To maintain a good level of donations and make sure that patients have a good chance of finding their donors through the umbilical cord bank of this system. Women who deliver at Amparo Maternal are informed and made aware of the importance and great value of being able to be an umbilical cord donor and help a life continue its history.
How is the Umbilical Cord Blood Collection performed?
The blood used by the umbilical cord banks also known by the acronym SCUP which refers to Umbilical cord and placental blood is that which remains in the umbilical vein and placenta after delivery. It is collected painlessly and can be stored for many years until you find a compatible patient , including cases of cord blood bags that have been stored for 25 years. Not all women can be donors of the umbilical cord, so the selection process is rigorous and requires the donor to be over 18 years old, to have performed prenatal care properly with at least 2 proven consultations, not to have history of hematological or neoplastic diseases and having a full-term pregnancy of more than 35 weeks.
Not all hospitals are able to perform the collection, as it is necessary to plan and correctly store the blood collected from the cord so that it can be used as expected. That is why only some hospitals have this type of specialization and perform the service very efficiently. In Rio de Janeiro, collections are carried out at the Naval Hospital Marcílio Dias, Maternidade Municipal Carmela Dutra and Maternidade Maria Amélia Buarque de Hollanda in partnership with INCA and in São Paulo at Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein, in addition to Sírio Libanês and Amparo Maternal as already previously informed. After collection, the blood bag will receive a numeric identifier that will be the identification used in the database and throughout the analysis process, completely disconnecting itself from the name of the pregnant donor.
At first, the analysis of cells present in the blood is carried out so that a sufficient number is verified to perform a transplant, afterwards an evaluation on the presence of contagious and genetic diseases in the blood collected is also necessary. Only after several checks, laboratory tests and complementary tests, including with the donor woman, where serological tests must be repeated, the blood bag will be released for use. This entire process lasts from 3 to 6 months, aiming to rule out any risk of contamination with any diseases.
The patient who needs the transplant receives the donation through a process similar to a conventional blood transfusion . They must be registered in the National Bone Marrow Donor Regime (REREME), where all the characteristics of the disease must be described together with the patient’s data and their HLA test, which is a necessary genetic test to verify compatibility. After all the inclusion of data in the BrasilCord Network’s bank, which is responsible for crossing information, a compatible donor will be evaluated and found to perform the procedure.
See also: Breast Milk Donation – Donate Life Vials
My name is Dr. Alexis Hart I am 38 years old, I am the mother of 3 beautiful children! Different ages, different phases 16 years, 12 years and 7 years. In love with motherhood since always, I found it difficult to make my dreams come true, and also some more after I was already a mother.
Since I imagined myself as a mother, in my thoughts everything seemed to be much easier and simpler than it really was, I expected to get pregnant as soon as I wished, but it wasn’t that simple. The first pregnancy was smooth, but my daughter’s birth was very troubled. Joana was born in 2002 with a weight of 2930kg and 45cm, from a very peaceful cesarean delivery but she had already been born with congenital pneumonia due to a broken bag not treated with antibiotics even before delivery.