Birth Tissue Donation

What is birth tissue? 

Birth tissue is gestational tissue that can be donated after the delivery of a living newborn. Donated birth tissue is often used in reconstructive procedures to promote healing, and to treat burns and painful wounds. 

Donated birth tissue can include: 

  • Placenta
  • Amniotic membrane
  • Chorionic membrane
  • Amniotic fluid
  • Umbilical cord tissue
  • Umbilical veins
  • Wharton’s jelly

How can birth tissue donation help?

Many people face long waits and poor medical alternatives for lack of a tissue transplant. Tissue donation helps end needless suffering, and saves lives.

Donated birth tissue can be used to help treat patients in many ways, including:

  • Treatment of painful, non-healing wounds
  • Treatment of burns
  • Reconstructive procedures to promote healing and reduce scarring
  • Spinal procedures to alleviate pain from scar tissue

Birth tissue also has ophthalmologic, orthopedic and gynecological uses, and supports the development of new treatments and scientific research.

As noted by AATB, the increasing demand for birth tissue has been the single largest driver of the overall growth in living tissue donors. 

How do I become a birth tissue donor? 

Donated birth tissue requires a specific authorization, separate from a standard donor registration. Authorization for birth tissue is never assumed as part of a registration to be an organ, eye and tissue donor. 

If you would like to donate your birth tissue you will need to work with an accredited tissue bank to:

  • Sign and complete an Informed Consent form
  • Complete a medical and social history interview
  • Allow the review and retention of portions of your medical records
  • Allow blood to be drawn and tested

Lori’s Birth Tissue Donation Story

Lori, a Type 1 Diabetic, underwent major foot and ankle surgery that required multiple plates and screws. Unfortunately, the surgical incision on the top of her foot did not heal properly after the surgery. The wound from the incision continued to worsen even after additional procedures and standard of care treatments. Lori became depressed and worried she would have to give up her job. Following treatment with a therapy made from donated birth tissue, the wound healed and Lori was able to return to her active life and continue working in a role that she loves, specializing in immunotherapy and cancer research.

Thank you to Smith + Nephew for sharing this story.

Over half of the people you will see today are registered donors – are you?

Registration takes less than a minute.

Still have questions?

Stories of Hope