Frequently Asked Questions
Expecting mothers (age: 18–45 years), whose physician is in the GaiaGift network, may participate in birth tissue donation.
If your donation is for research purposes only, we will ask that your OB complete a medical history, that you complete a Donor Health Questionnaire, and that you consent to your OB sharing your blood test results from your 28-week checkup. You must also consent to our procurement and use of your tissues. We will ask that you designate a representative to receive the birth tissue collection box and bring it to the delivery room. Once the box is packed with the birth tissues, your representative should call GaiaGift, within an hour of delivery, so that we may collect the box. We will come to you – you don’t need anything else to think about other than your sweet baby!
If your donation is for potential development of a therapeutic, in addition to the above, you will need to provide a blood sample for testing 7 days prior to your anticipated delivery date. This screening time point is per US FDA regulations and will serve to ensure that your birth tissues are safe for use.
The vast majority of the process for donation is aligned to your maternal journey. However, there is some additional information that we must procure from you to ensure that your tissues are safe for use and that we maintain the proper records of your donation.
Yes, it is. Your medical history and current medical status serve a number of purposes in the donation process. Since your birth tissues will be used in medical research and could potentially be incorporated into a therapy that goes into another human, we must ensure the utmost safety of its use. This includes screening for infectious diseases per US FDA regulations. In addition, there must be “traceability” of the final product to its components, so we must retain records of your donation for such purposes.
What happens to my personal information that is collected during the screening and donation process?
GaiaGift will declassify your personal information, assigning only a number to you and your baby. None of your DNA information will be collected or stored by us. This information will be used only for medical reasons associated with the collection and use of your birth tissues. We will take all necessary actions to comply with HIPAA laws and protect your personal information.
No. This is a gift or donation. By US law, it is illegal to compensate you for this tissue. However, as a token of our appreciation, and to further the impact of your gift, GaiaGift will make a donation to a charity supporting mothers and children.
No, there is no cost to you.
There is no risk to your baby when you donate his/her birth tissues. Once your baby is delivered, the birth tissues will be safely packaged and delivered to your GaiaGift team. Your health and your baby’s health will always remain the top priority, and your donation of birth tissues will not affect the care you receive or the health of either you or your baby.
Birth tissues are rich in a number of cell types, including stem cells and immune cells.
Stem cells are naïve or immature cells housed within the body that have the ability to regenerate/repair tissues and organs. Almost every organ within the body has a resident stem cell pool; however, as we age, the number of stem cells and their ability to regenerate tissues is greatly diminished with time. As such, neonatal stem cells obtained from birth tissues may have greater potential in repairing injured or diseased tissues, as compared to stem cells derived from adult bone marrow or fat.
Immune cells develop from stem cells of the blood and are the body’s defense against infection and disease. Foreign cells/materials, dead and faulty cells are detected by the cells of the immune system, which then mount a rapid and aggressive and complex campaign to destroy the offending factor(s). The immune system and immune response are critical to one’s survival. Recently, the defensive properties of immune cells have been harnessed to fight certain cancers with great success.
Birth or perinatal tissues include the placenta, umbilical cord and cord blood. While these tissues are critical to the in-utero growth of your baby, they are no longer needed once your baby is delivered. The vast majority of birth tissues are discarded as medical waste by the hospital after delivery.