If you are pregnant, you may be asked whether or not you are interested in donating the placenta after your child is born. Your decision could be very important in helping patients to recover from surgery or burns.
The amniotic membrane is the innermost layer of the placenta which lines the amniotic cavity. The membrane itself is made up of a single layer of tissue containing specialized cells. These cells allow the membrane to provide specific functions which aid in healing. Currently, amniotic membrane is being used in eye surgeries as well as a variety of other surgical applications including biological dressings for burn patients to accelerate the healing process. There is ongoing research to determine other medical and surgical applications for cells procured from the placenta.
In the United States alone, there are more than four million live births each year. From each discarded placenta, about three hundred million cells can be isolated. Eligible donors are all living mothers who have given full consent and have delivered a live birth via Cesarean Section. Tests are then performed to rule out the potential for infectious disease transmission.
Placenta donation is a safe and effective procedure and many Obstetrical practices are currently participating with a placenta donation program. For more information about the indications for donated placentas and to find out if you are eligible to donate, talk to your Obstetrician today. Your donation could make a very big difference in the lives of many patients and families.