Apr 14 2011

Americord Registry Announces “Bank One, Give One” Cord Blood Program

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Americord to Donate Cord Blood Stem Cell Collection and Storage to a Family in Need for Every New Client Registered During April and May

NEW YORK – April 14, 2011 – Americord Registry, a pioneer in umbilical cord blood and placenta stem cell preservation, today announced a new program to assist families in need. Through the “Bank One, Give One” program, Americord will donate cord blood stem cell collection and storage services to select underprivileged families in the New York area for every new client who enrolls in Americord’s cord blood banking program during April and May 2011.

“Stem cells found in the placenta and umbilical cord blood can be used to treat more than 75 blood-related diseases, including leukemia, lymphoma, and sickle cell anemia,” said Martin Smithmyer, President and CEO of Americord. “Furthermore, cord blood stem cells are a perfect genetic match for the baby, have a 50% chance of being a match for a sibling and may also be a match for a parent. However, collecting and storing cord blood can be a significant investment for some expectant parents, and public banks aren’t always the best option for underprivileged families with high risk pregnancies. We started Bank One, Give One to benefit families in need and to provide them with greater access to life-saving treatments by eliminating the costs associated with cord blood banking and those associate with finding a matching transplant.”

This program is significant since the only alternative for many families is to donate their cord blood to a public bank such as the New York Blood Center. Families might not easily be able to access these donations, however. According to Transfusion, the AABB’s scholarly, peer-reviewed journal, as many as 71% of donations may be rejected by public banks based on family medical history, maternal medical history, collection volume, and examination of the maternal blood sample. Even if the cord blood is available, a public bank typically charges a fee, estimated at $25,000 to $35,000, when releasing cord blood to the patient in need, which may not be covered by health insurance, if the family even has insurance.

Americord has reached out to and partnered with major obstetrics groups and hospitals in the New York City area asking them to refer families in need to this program. Hospitals are encouraged to refer expectant parents who demonstrate economic hardship and who have a close relative with a disease that can be treated with a cord blood stem cell transplant. Americord will waive the one-time cord blood collection and processing fee and provide free storage for 10 years for each in-need family for every new client who enrolls in Americord’s cord blood banking program.

“Americord was founded in part to reduce the limitations that are inherent to the cord blood banking industry, and cost is a barrier for many families,” Mr. Smithmyer said. “We are honored to offer this program and hope that our new clients will join us in making these potentially life-saving treatments available for those who need them the most.”

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Category: Press