HEALTH PROFESSIONALS’ INSIGHTS

Michelle Gebhardt, M.D.

OBGYN Practitioner, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Kaiser Permanente San Leandro Medical Center

When we discuss the opportunity for parents to donate their baby’s cord blood, they are enthusiastic about supporting another family with the potentially lifesaving donation of their baby’s cord blood. Helping another family is such an altruistic action. I believe some parents will choose to deliver at our location to take advantage of this opportunity.

The Southern Alameda County area where Kaiser Permanente San Leandro Medical Center is located is a concentrated area of diversity. Within Kaiser Permanente, our service has a high number of spoken languages among patients. This aligns with the Cleveland Cord Blood Center’s goal to increase the genetic diversity within the donation pool. What a great partnership we have established.

For me to be able to help start a public cord blood program here in partnership with the Cleveland Cord Blood Center has been one of the most fulfilling steps in my career. I feel very lucky to be able to provide this service for my patients. The reward is knowing that one day there may be a recipient on the other side whose life we may be able to save.

Peter J. Barratt, M.D., FACOG

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Piedmont Atlanta Hospital

With the surfacing of stem cell transplants, cord blood’s potential for good seems unlimited to me. Umbilical cord blood is a resource we have been throwing away for years and it turns out to offer potentially life-saving treatment with minimal work for those who donate and those who collect.

It doesn’t cost time or money and doesn’t require a medical procedure. It’s an altruistic donation new mothers can give to contribute to society. Nothing changes the flow of their giving birth. As a result, I obtain consent from about 95 percent of my patients.

I’ve seen studies on stem cell therapy, most recently related to cerebral palsy. The potential to address degenerative diseases, memory disorders, cancers – we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg right now.

When the CCBC coordinator lets me know that a cord blood unit I was involved with has been used for transplant, it is a special day.

Marcus Tower, M.D., retired

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Cleveland Clinic Hillcrest Hospital 

I applaud Cleveland Clinic’s top management, which was tremendously supportive and embracing of the concept which takes something that would be thrown away as medical waste and instead, holds the possibility of saving someone’s life. As the busiest OB hospital in the area with a diverse population, I asked, “Why not us?” Hillcrest Hospital’s strong labor and delivery nursing leadership helped make it possible to offer the service to expectant parents.

For parents, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to donate something that you won’t miss, is painless, and is of no cost to the donating parents. Feedback from donating parents indicates they are grateful to know that their baby’s umbilical cord blood, donated to the Cleveland Cord Blood Center, may be used in a lifesaving transplant. As OB/GYNS, we get to experience the miracle of life when a child is born. With cord blood donations, we’re also helping make future life-giving miracles possible.

Dinkar V. Rao, M.D.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Cleveland Clinic Hillcrest Hospital

At Hillcrest Hospital, we take our ability to offer the collection of cord blood as a point of pride. In working with the Cleveland Cord Blood Center, we are able to view the statistics each year regarding numbers collected, how they were used and the people whose lives we impacted – all as a result of a relatively safe and simple procedure.

Our trained staff has made cord blood collection a standard element of our patient intake and within the normal workflow of giving birth. This endeavor is especially important at Hillcrest Hospital where we have a diverse population donating cord blood. As a result, we are contributing lifesaving cord blood therapies to patients who might not otherwise have access to treatment.

The Cleveland Cord Blood Center is a first-rate, professional partner in our efforts. In sharing the impact these therapies have on saving lives, our OB/GYN team is motivated in their work with donating parents.

Merritt McLean, M.D., CPPS

OBGYN Hospitalist
Assistant Medical Director of Perinatal Services
Kaiser Permanente San Francisco

Our goal was to have a public, altruistic program and we’re appreciative that the Cleveland Cord Blood Center is aligned with us in the spirit of our approach. We work day-to-day helping mothers deliver babies safely, and now parents have the opportunity to bank their babies’ cord blood for the greater good. Our parents are able to include the donation of their babies’ umbilical cord blood in their prenatal plan, and are happy that their birth experience can also help other people have a new chance for life.

The Cleveland Cord Blood Center was very supportive in helping set up the program, dedicating the time, resources and personnel to help make sure that everyone was well-trained. The staff is on board, and it has been a ‘feel good’ for labor and delivery to be helping parents contribute their babies’ umbilical cord blood for the greater good.

Jennifer Tagatz, RNc, MS, FNP

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Kaiser Permanente-San Francisco

Mothers are excited about being a part of the cord blood collection program, knowing that the umbilical cord blood could be used in a transplant as well as research. We’re happy to partner with the Cleveland Cord Blood Center, a completely public cord blood bank that is doing it for all the right reasons, and benefits not only our patients and the country, but the international community as well. We’re grateful to California’s Umbilical Cord Blood Collection Program which creates partnerships to help increase cord blood inventory and diversity.

The nurses in labor and delivery have been very supportive of the program and their discussions with mothers about cord blood donation has been very important in helping to make it a part of the culture. Residents have embraced the program, and when they move on to other facilities, will likely share the importance of the ability to donate cord blood throughout the country and internationally.

Catherine Wilkins, M.D.

OB-GYN Hospitalist
Cleveland Clinic Fairview Hospital

Not every hospital provides parents the opportunity to donate umbilical cord blood. At Fairview Hospital, with very little effort on the hospital’s or a physician’s part, we are able to help provide something of great value that otherwise would be disposed. Mothers, even those that have had no personal experience with the need for cord blood transplants, are enthusiastic and are moved when they see the lifesaving potential. Each time we are able to participate is an uplifting experience. CCBC’s ability to harness the lifesaving gift of the donation is remarkable.