Recently, an article was published by CTV and other news agencies telling the story of Nolan, a young boy whose life was saved thanks to a cord blood donation his mom made four years earlier at Hema-Quebec Public Cord Blood Bank, located in Montreal.
Nolan had been diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia soon after being born and was in desperate need of a stem cell transplant following four failed rounds of chemotherapy.
Incredibly, the frozen sample taken from the umbilical cord blood of Nathis, Nolan’s older brother, was not only a match, but was still available for use by the Comeau family. The transplant that saved Nolan’s life is being recognized as the first stem-cell transplant among siblings from a public umbilical cord bank, and a happy ending for the Nolan Comeau his family.
Nolan’s Case is Not the Norm
While it is important to celebrate the cord blood stem cell match that saved Nolan’s life, it is more important to understand that Nolan’s case is the absolute exception when it comes to finding a donor match.
For those considering whether or not banking is worth it, it is necessary to understand that, in Canada, numerous sibling transplants have taken place, thanks to the match rate for family’s that choose to bank their baby’s umbilical cord blood for their own use.
While the less stringent matches for cord blood stem cell transplants does increase the odds of finding a match, making it a good idea to donate if you cannot find a way to bank privately, the odds of accessing a sample donated by a sibling is extremely rare, a point reiterated by Susie Joron, Manager of Donor Search Strategies at Hema-Quebec.
20% of Donated Samples make it Into the Public Bank
One thing that families considering cord blood banking vs. cord blood donation should understand is that only 1 out of every 5 samples – about 20% – actually make it into the public cord blood bank, while the other 80% are redirected towards research.
Alternatively, when you bank with a family cord blood bank like Cells for Life, you will be sure your sample is saved for future use, available to you and your family for years to come.
Want to learn more about cord blood banking? Watch this great video on the cord blood collection process and visit our blog for the top ten facts you need to know about cord blood banking with Cells for Life.