Simple interventions can increase cord blood donations, according to research published in Scientific Reports.
Researchers saw a significant increase in cord blood donation when expectant mothers received information about the procedure and were asked to indicate their interest in donating at both early and late stages of their pregnancies.
“We more than doubled the number of cord blood units that were collected,” said study author Nicola Lacetera, PhD, of the University of Toronto Mississauga in Ontario, Canada.
“We learned a lot, and we did a little bit of good too, so that feels nice.”
Dr Lacetera and his colleagues conducted this study in Milan, Italy, where private cord blood banking is banned.
The team set out to determine if providing expectant mothers with information about cord blood donation and prompting them to consider the procedure would increase donations to a public cord blood bank.
The researchers enrolled 850 expectant mothers and divided them into 6 treatment cohorts.
The T0 cohort included 217 control subjects who did not receive any information on cord blood donation.
The T1 cohort included 64 subjects who received information on cord blood donation during their first trimester.
The T2 cohort included 88 subjects who were given information on cord blood donation and asked about their intentions to donate in their first trimester.
The T3 cohort included 197 subjects who received information on cord blood donation in their third trimester.
The T4 cohort included 249 subjects who were given information on cord blood donation and asked about their intentions to donate during their third trimester.
The T5 cohort included 35 subjects who were given information on cord blood donation and asked about their intentions to donate during the first trimester and the third trimester.
The researchers found that T5 subjects had the highest donation rate.
In the entire study sample, the donation rate was 2.3% (5/217) in controls, 6.3% (4/64) in T1 subjects, 1.1% (1/88) in T2, 8.1% (16/197) in T3, 10.0% (25/249) in T4, and 17.1% in T5 (6/35).
These results may not be entirely accurate, however, because the researchers could only confirm patients’ donation status if mothers delivered their babies at the study hospital, Ospedale dei Bambini Vittore Buzzi (also known as Buzzi Hospital, BH).
Among women who delivered at BH, donation rates were 2.7% (5/183) in controls, 11.7% (4/34) in T1, 2.2% (1/45) in T2, 8.9% (16/179) in T3, 11.4% (25/42) in T4, and 21.4% (6/28) in T5.
Though these data suggest the various interventions tested can increase cord blood donations, donation rates in this study could have been even higher, according to the researchers.
There were 197 women who submitted consent forms to donate cord blood, were medically eligible to donate, and delivered their babies at BH. However, only 57 of these women successfully donated cord blood.
There were 62 women (56.9%) who could not donate because of medical complications during delivery.
Thirty-three women (30.3%) failed to donate because of organizational reasons, including overcrowding of the delivery room and the absence of obstetric nurses certified to collect and process cord blood at the time of delivery.
There were 14 women (7.1%) who did not donate for institution-related reasons. For example, the women gave birth when the Milan Cord Blood Bank was closed.
There were no details on the remaining 31 women who failed to donate.