The Hawaii Cord Blood Bank (HCBB) is an independent, non-profit community service organization whose mission is to support measures aimed at improving patient access to transplant, including the collection and public banking of umbilical cord blood from Hawai‘i’s ethnically diverse population.
Just a third of all patients needing a transplant have an appropriately matched related donor! While there are more than 12 million adult donors in the United States (including more than 70,000 in the Hawai‘i Bone Marrow Donor Registry), the racial and ethnic diversity of our local patients continues to pose a special challenge to finding matches.
The umbilical cord, which is discarded after delivery, is rich in blood stem cells. The blood left over in the baby’s umbilical cord contains the same kind of special cells as bone marrow. It is used in transplants to treat patients with diseases like leukemia, lymphoma, genetic disorders, and a variety of other diseases.
After the baby is delivered, the left over blood is drawn from the umbilical cord before it is discarded. Stored cord blood is publicly available to any transplant patient seeking a matching donor and can be the gift that can save their life.
HCBB began operations in 1998 as a means to help meet the challenge of finding donors for Hawai‘i’s ethnically diverse patient population and to provide an additional resource for patients of Asian, Polynesian, or mixed ethnicity living elsewhere in the country. HCBB offers umbilical cord blood donations at all five birthing hospitals on O‘ahu as well as the Maui Memorial Medical Center. Since its inception, HCBB has collected more than 10,000 units and stored over 3,100 cord blood units. From these units, 175 donations have been matched and used for lifesaving transplants in patients who might otherwise not have been helped.
Please consider donating your baby’s umbilical cord blood to a public cord blood bank. Learn more by visiting us at hcbb.org and help by spreading the word to others. Mahalo.