Evan Delay, RN is Director of Bloodworks Bio Donation Programs, a former Labor & Delivery nurse, and mom to a cord blood donor. She shares her experience with cord blood donation through Bloodworks Cord Blood Donation Program.
I have a family member living with Lymphoma and a close friend who passed away from Scleroderma, both of them needed stem cell transplants as part of their treatment. You feel so helpless when someone you love is suffering. One small thing I felt that I could do was sign up for Be the Match registry and hopefully be transplant match for someone else in need someday. Learning that I could donate my cord blood to provide another option for someone in need of a transplant was a no brainer.
Early on in my second trimester, once I felt more secure that my pregnancy was going well, I began to think about what I wanted for my birth experience and started to talk to my OB about options. I knew I wanted to do at least 45 seconds of delayed cord clamping, skin-to-skin as soon as possible, breastfeeding, and cord blood donation. I was happy to learn that all of those desires would be easy to achieve without negatively impacting each other.
Around 36 weeks when I started nesting around my house and getting my birth bag together, I filled out my cord blood consent and form to pack along with my birth plan. I am a planner by nature, and it was nice to know I had all my paperwork ready to go in advance.
When I checked in to the hospital, my nurse asked me about my birth plan, and I went over all my hopes including donating cord blood. She brought a collection kit to my room and was able to collect my blood samples when she put in my IV. After that, I honestly didn’t notice anything else about the donation. I had a c-section and I was so focused on my sweet little babe that I didn’t even know they started the collection until I heard the doctors mention that it was almost done. The nurses took care of all the rest of the paperwork and packing it up.
I would definitely recommend it because it was so easy and didn’t change my birth experience. I sadly knew someone who was not able to find a transplant match, so it is especially meaningful to me that I can tell my son he was helping others in need from the day he was born.