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Published on November 10, 2017

UHS moms can donate birth tissue to benefit others 

The Birthing Center at UHS Wilson Medical Center is now participating in a placenta/birth tissue donation program coordinated by the Central New York Eye and Tissue Bank. Through the program, a woman who undergoes a planned C-section delivery at the center can give a gift of healing by donating her placenta and umbilical cord. Each donation can yield up to 100 different amnion graphs that can enhance and even save many lives. Amnion is the innermost membrane that encloses an embryo.

"It’s a wonderful program that can help a lot of people,” said Dhruv Agneshwar, MD, a UHS obstetrician-gynecologist who has had several patients participate in the program. “Birth tissue donation is really a win-win situation," he said. "The process poses no risk to the mother or baby, and it allows the tissue, which typically is discarded, to instead be used in the treatment of others.”

Due to their unique cellular make-up, the grafts can have many therapeutic applications. Not only do they have anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties, they also are known to suppress pain, expedite recovery and reduce scar tissue. Specifically the grafts are often used for burn victims and wound patients, as they enhance the body’s own cellular healing mechanisms. The amnion is frequently used in ophthalmic and dental procedures as foundation material for soft-tissue regrowth. It is also used post-operatively to repair and facilitate the healing of tendons, as it reduces adhesions and swelling. Its application has extended to neurology and orthopedics for spinal surgery and treating chronic back pain.

According to Dr. Agneswhar, the program has been well-received by his C-section patients once he explains that the process is simple and completely safe. Utilizing birth tissue from C-section patients ensures the most sterile tissue possible, and a technician from the regional tissue bank must be on hand at the time of the birth to collect the tissues. Referrals are generated through the obstetrician’s office prior to the scheduled delivery, or the expectant mother can contact the tissue bank directly. The patient is then contacted by the tissue bank to obtain consent for the donation and conduct a medical screening.

“It’s a great way for moms who’ve just experienced one of life’s miracles to share that miracle through the healing of other people,” said Shawn Conrad, RN, nurse manager of Labor & Delivery at the Birthing Center. “It’s an easy and painless act of kindness, with no cost to the patient.” Expectant mothers, who are having a planned C-section, can obtain more information about the program from their obstetrician, the Birthing Center or the UHS Stay Healthy Center at the Oakdale Mall. Interested mothers also can contact the Central New York Eye and Tissue Bank directly at 315-476-0199 or by clicking here.