Donor stories - banking in your child's cord blood

Donor stories - banking in your child's cord blood

Usually referred to as baby's first gift, donating cord blood is easy to do but makes a huge difference to the recipient.

Do a good deed by donating cord blood

Izyani and Mohd Nazri were amazed to learn how cord blood donation can help cure patients with blood cancers or disorders, after reading up on it. Expecting their first child then in 2006, they decided to donate to the Singapore Cord Blood Bank (SCBB).

“I am so glad that SCBB took the time to explain the process and benefits of donation. If it can help someone one day, it is the least we can do,” said Izyani.

The couple decided that they would continue to donate if they were to have more babies.

Home birth does not allow for donation

After giving birth to their three children, Izyani was considering a home delivery for their fourth child. Eventually, she decided against it. “The major factor that changed this for us was the regret of not being able to donate our baby’s cord blood”, she explained.

Home births fall outside SCBB’s stringent process for collecting the donation, thus it would not be eligible for donation. Proper technique is required to collect it without contamination, ensuring its safety for patients’ use later.

cord blood

SCBB life-savers (from left) Haikal, 6; Danial, 9; Luqman, 2; and Irfan, 4 (Credit – SingHealth)

Small thing for the donor, huge difference to the beneficiary

Izyani feels very privileged and honoured to be a four-time donor. She encourages her family and friends to donate their baby’s cord blood: “If doing such a small thing may make a huge difference in someone else’s life, why wouldn’t you want to donate? It is easy and painless too.”

Her son, Mohd Haikal, 6, has also helped in the cause by featuring in SCBB’s educational video recently, sharing information about making a donation.

The video can be viewed below:

Cord blood not a guaranteed match for my family

One scientific fact caught the attention of Low Tze Hui and Poh Liang Siah, when they were researching their banking options during their first pregnancy in 2006 – cord blood from a baby is not guaranteed to be a match for a family member1.

No guaranteed cord blood match between siblings

“The fact there is no guarantee that my child’s cord blood can be used by his siblings and that most patients found a match from a public bank, made us realise there was no justifiable reason to keep it for ourselves,” Tze Hui said. The couple then decided to donate it to SCBB.

Cord blood, a rich source of blood stem cells, donated by expectant mothers to a public bank such as SCBB can be made available for patients to treat their blood-related diseases such as leukaemia and lymphoma.

cord blood

From left – Sarah, 7; Luke, 1; Zaccheus, 9; and Joshua, 4 (Credit – Low Tze Hui)

Higher chance of finding a match with more cord blood donations

“We also found out that with an increase in the number of parents who have donated, the greater the possibility of finding a match for those in need. We wanted to contribute to this effort.”

“It is similar to how insurance works. When we buy insurance, the money gets pooled together. When someone needs it, the money can be put to good use,” Tze Hui explained.

Cord blood banking makes it more useful

Since their first childbirth, the couple continued to donate  during the deliveries of their other children in 2008, 2011 and 2014 respectively. To them, it is an act of helping someone in need through giving.

“For us, donating cord blood is like donating blood. I see it as an altruistic act and it feels good that our donation can help somebody in need,” Tze Hui revealed.

Tze Hui shared, “It is a sensible and rational thing to do. There is no cost and yet it has the potential to save somebody. Why waste it? If everybody understands the logic behind public cord blood banking, I am sure that they will be happy to donate.”

This article has been edited and was first seen on the Singapore Cord Blood Bank Newsletter 

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