Neonatal & Dev Medicine in the department of pediatrics

The Placental Tissue Banking Project

Help us learn how to improve the future health

of mothers and children.


What is the placenta?
The placenta is a disc shaped mass of tissue inside the womb that is formed from both the mother and baby. It is the unborn baby's life support system, since it connects the mother’s and baby’s blood flow to each other. The placenta supports the growth of the unborn baby by supplying oxygen and nutrients and by removing waste. After the baby is delivered, the placenta with the attached umbilical cord is then delivered in a process called the after-birth. The obstetric team examines the placenta and if it is normal and the baby is well, it is usually thrown away. In various cultures the placenta has a special cultural importance, so, in some cases, a family may wish to take it home.

What is the Placental Tissue Banking Project?
The Placental Tissue Banking Project collects and preserves placental tissue for research. Tissue from the bank will be made available to doctors and scientists who want to study the placenta to improve the health of future mothers and babies. The tissue will not be sold or used for any commerical purposes.

Why donate the placenta and how will it be used?
The placenta stores valuable information about the baby’s well-being while in the womb, but much about the placenta is still a mystery.  Studying placentas will help identify causes of pregnancy problems like preeclampsia or premature birth, newborn illness such as infection, or other problems that may develop later in a child’s life, such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and autism.

 When is it collected?
All tissue samples from the placenta and attached umbilical cord are collected by the medical staff in a separate laboratory after the baby and the placenta are delivered. The birth process will not be affected in any way.

Are there any physical risks or additional tests done on me or my baby?
No. No extra blood draws, needles or biopsies are done on the mother or baby.

How will my medical information be kept private?
We follow strict HIPAA  rules (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), in order to protect the privacy of the mother and baby. All information will be kept in a secure electronic database linked with the baby’s birth certificate, along with basic information from the mother’s and baby’s delivery records. This information might include illness of the mother, length and weight of the baby at birth, and any extra care the baby might need after delivery. Before giving any of this data to researchers, information that might identify the mother or baby will be removed.

Will Placental Tissue Banking interfere with cord-blood banking or my own doctor wanting information about my placenta?
No, placental tissue banking does not interfere in any way with cord-blood banking, or if your doctor wants to send the placenta for testing after delivery. Samples for the Placental Tissue Banking project will be gathered from cord blood or tissue that is left over after any needed collection or testing. While cord blood is collected with placental tissue banking, it is not saved in a way that can be used for later therapies. These samples are collected for research purposes only.

Is there any cost associated with the donation?
No, there is no cost to you or your insurance.

Do I need to do anything else after donating the placenta?
No.  We will ask for permission to contact you in the future in case we are doing research that would benefit from knowing more about your or your baby’s health.  However, your donation of the placenta will be greatly appreciated even if you don’t want to be contacted in the future.

Are there any benefits for me?
This project is one of only a few in the nation, and has very important research possibilities. By allowing us to store the placental tissue that would otherwise be thrown away, you may help improve the health and quality of life for mothers and their babies everywhere.

How can I enroll in the Placental Tissue Banking Project?
You will be given more information and a consent form after you arrive at LPCH for delivery. 

Where can I get more information?
Please feel free to ask questions of your health care providers and our staff here at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital. You can call us at: 650/497-8000 and ask for the Placental Tissue Bank staff member on call. You can also vist some associated Web sites:
Dr. Anna Penn's Laboratory
Neonatal and Developmental Medicine
Obstetrics and Gynecology

Stanford Medicine Resources:

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