The National Public Cord Blood Bank launched their first collection site in Ottawa last fall, which helped Canada join the rest of the G8 in maintaining a donor cord blood collection program. The program has announced additional collection sites at four hospitals across the country, primarily located in ethnically diverse neighbourhoods.
The BC Women’s Hospital & Health Centre in the Greater Vancouver Area is one of the chosen collection sites. In January, the hospital was named as one of four Canadian collection sites, along with institutions in Ottawa, Brampton and Edmonton.
All four sites are now collecting cord blood for validation purposes, and will open officially later in 2014. The goal of the national cord blood donor program is to provide cord blood stem cell transplant possibilities for families who have not chosen to bank their own baby’s cord blood.
The donor program is managed by Canadian Blood Services, and the nonprofit organization recognized the importance of opening a cord blood collection site in one of Canada’s largest and most diverse cities. Dr. Jan Christilaw, President of BC Women’s Hospital, lobbied for the cord blood collection site.
“The people who are hardest to find matches for are those of ethnic minorities, and given the ethnic diversity of the Vancouver population, I felt we were in the best position to add great value and complexity to the National Public Cord Blood Bank.”
The announcement of the cord blood collection site in BC has also been lauded by other cord blood experts. Dr. Robert Casper, Founder and Medical Director at Insception Lifebank, believes the National Public Cord Blood Bank will help encourage more Canadian families to consider all their options in regards to cord blood banking.
“It validates the idea that banking cord blood is an important thing to do. And for those people who cannot afford to pay for private banking of cord blood, it takes the pressure off because they know there will be lots of samples in the Canadian bank.”