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Cord Blood Donation

Why should I register my baby’s cord blood with the Sunflower Fund donor registry?

Every year, thousands of people, including children, are diagnosed with life-threatening diseases, such as leukemia or lymphoma, for which a stem cell transplant (also called a bone marrow transplant) may be the best or the only treatment. Donated matched blood stem cells are needed for these transplants.  Cord blood does not require a perfect match between donor and patient, making it easier to find a suitable match within the family and community.  As South Africa doesn’t have a public cord blood bank, the value of cord blood cannot be utilised for patients needing a stem cell transplant.

You might be considering donating bone marrow because someone in your family needs a stem cell transplant and doctors think you might be a match for that person. Or perhaps you want to help someone else — maybe even someone you don’t know — who’s waiting for a stem cell transplant.

CELVI is the first hybrid, private cord blood bank on the continent, which means that you have the opportunity to register the cord blood with the Sunflower Fund donor registry for potential donation to a patient who needs life-saving treatment.  This will only require a non-invasive tissue typing test (mouth swab) of your baby at no additional cost.

Choosing this option will increase the chances of a patient finding a blood stem cell donor for a potentially life-saving transplant.  This applies to all of us as only 30% of patients will find a matched donor within their immediate family, increasing the need for genetically diverse, matched unrelated donors.92

Your choice today may save a life tomorrow.  Join the movement and make it happen!

What happens when my cord blood has been identified as a potential match for a patient?

The Sunflower Fund donor registry will contact you should the cord blood be identified as a potential donation.  You have absolutely no obligation to donate the stem cells if you don’t want to.

How do I become a blood stem cell donor?

You can register for free at the Sunflower Fund registry

You can also preserve your baby’s cord blood with CELVI, the only hybrid cord blood bank in Africa.  The cord blood will be registered on the donor registry as potentially donatable. Should the cord blood be identified as a potential donation, you will have the option to keep it for your family OR donate it to a patient.  It will always remain your choice.

If you have stored your children’s cord blood already at another cord blood bank, you can contact CELVI to change your stem cell status to donatable.

Your baby’s new life can save another life.

What can I do to donate privately stored cord blood stem cells to a patient in need?

Registering your baby’s cord blood with the Sunflower Fund donor registry is now available through CELVI, the first hybrid cord blood bank in Africa.

Do remember that you have absolutely no obligation to donate the stem cells if you don’t want to.

What is the purpose of a stem cell donor registry?

The registry is a computerized bank consisting of people who may or may not, consent to donate their stem cells or stored cord blood to a patient anywhere in the world.

Why is your ethnicity important?

Donor matches depend on tissue types (DNA), not blood types and these inherited genetic characteristics are often more frequent in a particular race. It is therefore important that people of all races register as donors, so that all patients have the opportunity of finding a life-saving donor match.

Who pays for the test?

The Sunflower Fund covers the cost of all tissue type testing and welcomes voluntary donations towards these tests.

Do I get paid?

Donating blood stem cells is by law, voluntary and unpaid. You will, however, be reimbursed for reasonable expenses incurred should the cord blood be used in a transplant for a patient.


M-D-05.19 V1 – 2019/09/09

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The treating doctor will determine the use of cord blood for treatment, depending on many factors, including the patient’s medical condition, the quality of the cord blood sample, if the patient’s own cord blood can be used or an adequately matched donor’s cord blood.The use of cord blood has been established in stem cell transplantation and has been used to treat more than 80 diseases. The use of cord blood in regenerative medicine is still being researched and there is no guarantee that treatments being studied in the laboratory, clinical trials, or other experimental treatments will be available in the future.The use of cord tissue stem cells is still in early research stages, and there is no guarantee that treatments using cord tissue stem cells will be available in the future. Cord tissue stem cells are found in the cord tissue which is stored whole. Additional processing will be required to isolate the stem cells from the tissue for use. CELVI (Pty) Ltd outsources all cord blood and tissue processing and storage activities to Next Biosciences in Midrand, South Africa, a licensed and AABB accredited facility.

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