Gift of Life Michigan now offers a special program for new mothers wanting to donate their baby's placenta to help others with serious medical needs. Gift of Life is working with St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor to make placenta donation possible.
Who can donate placenta?
Expectant mothers of any age who will give birth with a planned Cesarean section at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor can take advantage of this unique opportunity, as long as there are no disqualifying medical conditions. Those would include infections or viruses such as HIV, hepatitis or others that could be transmitted to patients who would receive donated placenta for healing. Right now, St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor is the only hospital in the state offering this special program. We anticipate expanding it to other Michigan hospitals in the future.
What is donated?
With your permission, your baby's umbilical cord and placenta - normally discarded after birth - can be donated. Your child's birth is in no way affected and there is no risk to you or your baby.
Your baby's legacy
The placenta technically belongs to your baby, so this means your child would begin his or her life as a donor, helping others heal and live healthier lives. What an incredible legacy right from the start! Click on the photo to read baby Da'Kota and mom Ja'Leisa's story. They were the first to donate placenta as part of a program offered in Arizona.
How is placenta used?
Placenta is rich in nutrients so it has unique healing properties. It is most often used to heal traumatic wounds and diabetic ulcers - situations where the skin won't close and heal on its own. It's also used to help people with eye injuries and diseases, for spinal and dental procedures and for sports injuries.
How to participate
It's simple: Just tell Gift of Life Michigan and your physician at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor that you want to donate your baby's placenta. Call Gift of Life at 800-482-4881 or send us an email. One of our coordinators will contact you to set up a convenient time to complete some documents and answer questions about your medical and social history. Some questions are personal, which can make some people feel a little uncomfortable, but the information is important to ensure the safety of donated tissue. The interview will last about 20 minutes, and is similar to questions asked of blood donors.
Before your delivery, you will provide a small blood sample, which is taken as hospital staff collect blood for their own testing before your C-section. So there will be no additional needle poke.
After your baby is delivered, the placenta will be tested and processed under strict guidelines and according to the highest medical and ethical standards.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there any risks to donating my baby's placenta?
- The placenta and umbilical cord are not needed by the baby after delivery. There is no risk to your baby.
Is there a cost to donate? Will I be compensated?
- Placentas and umbilical cords are normally discarded after delivery.
- There is no cost to you whatsoever.
- Donating your baby's placenta is considered a gift and payment for donated tissue and organs is illegal under the National Organ Transplant Act of 1984.
Is my medical information kept confidential?
- Gift of Life Michigan is bound by federal confidentiality laws, so we are HIPAA compliant.
- We will not use any information about you or your baby in our publications without your explicit permission. We might ask you to share your story about placenta donation with others as we promote and expand the program. If you're interested in doing that, we'd love to hear from you.
Can I still donate or bank cord blood?
- Yes, you can do both.
Where can I get more information?