In 2010, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Allen joined the Texas Cord Blood Bank as the first and only hospital in Collin County to offer the collection of life-saving cord blood as a free service to its patients.
Umbilical cord blood, which is normally discarded after the birth of a baby, is rich in blood-making cells that can be used as an alternative to bone marrow transplants to treat cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma, disorders of the blood-making system such as sickle-cell anemia and severe immune-system disorders.
The Texas Cord Blood Bank is a non-profit program established by the Texas legislature in 2001 to collect umbilical cord blood that can benefit patients suffering from a number of fatal diseases. Since the program began collecting in 2005, more than 30,000 donations have been collected.
There is no cost to parents associated with donating, and the cord blood will help build a state-wide cord blood bank that captures the vast ethnic diversity of Texans, as ethnicity plays a key role in finding a suitable genetic match for patients.
The Texas Cord Blood Bank's first collections began in June 2005. Texas Health Allen was the second hosptial in North Texas to join the effort.
Physicians on the medical staff, nurses and other Texas Health Allen employees have undergone training in preparation for collections that began in August 2010.
Women delivering at Texas Health Allen can opt to complete a brief screening questionnaire similar to one necessary when donating blood. For those who are eligible to donate, the process is simple. The patient's physician will drain cord blood from the umbilical cord and placenta shortly after the baby is delivered. Physicians traditionally collect cord blood samples in order for the hospital to determine blood type and run basic tests before discarding the umbilical cord and placenta.
Collections are sent with a complete nine-page maternal history to the Texas Cord Blood Bank in San Antonio where the blood is processed and tested within hours of arrival. Once the donated unit passes all quality criteria, it is then stored and made available for search by transplant centers. The Texas Cord Blood Bank distributes a unit if it is a match for a patient in need.