Baby Velez, the son of Emily and J.C. Velez (as of last week, the family had not yet named him), was born just after 2 p.m. Wednesday.
In September the hospital announced it received a grant from the Abraham J. & Phyllis Katz Foundation to assist the facility in becoming a public cord blood collection center and the first hospital in Atlanta to partner with the nonprofit Cleveland Cord Blood Center.
Cord blood is rich in blood-forming cells that can be used in transplants for patients with leukemia, lymphoma, sickle cell anemia and other life-threatening blood diseases. After a mother consents to donate her baby’s umbilical cord and once the baby is born, the donated unit is then registered and sent to the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy-accredited center for use by transplant centers working to save the lives of patients all over the world.
In an email, Piedmont spokeswoman Amanda Bartlett wrote 65 to 70 percent of new parents at the hospital will donate their baby’s cord blood to the Cleveland Cord Blood Center.
“We’re excited the Cleveland Cord Blood Center chose to partner with Piedmont Atlanta,” said Les Donahue, president and CEO of Piedmont Atlanta Hospital. “Each year, approximately 3,500 babies are delivered at the hospital. If even a fraction of those babies’ cord blood is donated, think how many lives would be saved.”
As of August, about 170 people in Georgia are searching for an unrelated donor match to save their lives, according to www.BeTheMatchFoundation.org. An unrelated donor match may come from donors providing bone marrow, peripheral blood, or umbilical cord blood stem cells.
Parents interested in donating their baby’s umbilical cord after their birth should discuss with their obstetrician or contact the hospital during their pregnancy. There is no cost to the family when donating a baby’s umbilical cord to the Cleveland Cord Blood Center.