Petition to Increase Awareness and Availability of Umbilical Cord Donation

In 2011, 10-month-old Charlie Harris-Beard was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia. Thanks to a bone marrow transplant and an umbilical cord stem cell transplant, he was able to live past his second birthday. However, when he needed another stem cell transplant, there were none available -- because in the UK, many people are unaware that new parents can donate their children's umbilical cord blood to potentially save other children's lives.

We ask that it become compulsory for every pregnant woman in the UK to be informed about cord blood banking, for the government to invest in training midwives to harvest the cord blood so at least one trained midwife is available in every major hospital around the clock, and for temporary storage facilities to be available in every major hospital while it can be transferred to a regional centre.

Cord blood donations are a risk-free procedure that does not interfere with the delivery of your baby in any way. On average, every year 1 in 100 cord units will be used for transplantation, compared to 1 in 1000 registered adult donors. In the UK alone last year, 65,000 litres of cord blood were thrown away!
Up to 70% of people who need bone marrow transplants will not find a match. Banking stem cells improves those odds. Ask the UK to increase availability of cord donation today!

I am writing to ask you to make changes to increase the awareness and availability of umbilical cord blood donation throughout the UK.

We ask that it become compulsory for every pregnant woman in the UK to be informed about cord blood banking, for the government to invest in training midwives to harvest the cord blood so at least one trained midwife is available in every major hospital around the clock, and for temporary storage facilities to be available in every major hospital while it can be transferred to a regional centre.

80% of transplant needs would be met if the UK simply stored 50,000 cord blood units. By contrast, 60,000 litres of cord blood were thrown away in our country the last year alone. This is a waste of valuable resources, especially when so many lives are literally on the line.

Please enact the above requests as soon as possible, so that no one else in need dies for lack of a marrow donor.
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