Many Western New Yorkers know about Unyts’ role in organ, eye, tissue and blood donation, but fewer are aware that Unyts accepts post-natal tissue donations at Mercy Hospital and Sisters of Charity Hospital. The post-natal tissues, including the placenta, can be donated when a cesarean section delivery is planned. The amniotic membrane is then processed into wound-healing grafts.
“These grafts are pretty powerful; they not only have anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties, they also suppress pain, expedite recovery and reduce scar tissue,” explained Unyts Eye & Tissue Clinical Liaison Bonnie Scioli. “They are often used for burn victims in addition to skin grafts. They enhance the body’s own cellular healing mechanisms.” The amnion is also frequently used in ophthalmic and dental procedures as foundation material for soft tissue regrowth, and as biological dressing on post-operative surgical sites.
Unyts recently talked to two local moms who took part in the program.
“I had two previous spinal surgeries and I had heard that the placenta could be used to help with those surgeries,” said Jill S. “I wanted to give back because I had such a great spinal surgeon that I wanted to help out any way I could.”
“I have a 2-year-old and I’d never heard of the program before, so when I was educated about the benefits of the placenta being donated, it was a no-brainer,” said Kathleen D. “It can be used for so many good things and it’s almost wasteful to not donate. There is no risk and no harm to the baby or the mom.”
The process is safe, simple, painless, free and rewarding:
Safe: The placenta isn’t recovered until after the baby is delivered. The process poses no risk to the mother or baby.
Simple: When a mother consents to the donation, she will answer a series of questions regarding her medical and social history to ensure the safety of the tissue.
Painless: The donation process requires no additional surgical procedure. There is only a routine blood specimen collection.
Free: Any expenses related to donation are paid for by Unyts.
Rewarding: The donation of post-natal tissues can become a priceless gift to change others’ lives for the better.
“We, as moms, are giving life…why not return the favor to help others in need?” Jill asked.
A form for expectant mothers who would like to donate is online at http://www.unyts.org/services/organ-eye-and-tissue-services/placenta-donation-program/.
If you’d like to donate but your physician isn’t a participating member of the Unyts Placenta Donation program, please contact the Unyts Donor Referral Center at (716) 853-6667 ext. 5 to receive further information.