The Alliance

Spotlight Series

The Alliance Spotlight Series is a recurring one-page publication for front-line healthcare professionals, offering quick-takes on critical topics affecting the field of organ donation and transplantation. We encourage you to download these issues and share them with your front-line colleagues and partners.

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Couple Hands On Pregnant Belly
Placenta donation, also referred to as birth tissue donation, is the donation of the placenta, umbilical cord, and amniotic fluid following the delivery of a baby.

Placenta Donation: Establishing A Birth Tissue Donation Program

Placenta Donation, also referred to as Birth Tissue Donation, is the donation of the placenta, umbilical cord, and amniotic fluid following the delivery of a baby. Dependent upon the processor’s specifications, mothers that deliver their baby vaginally or by way of a cesarean section (c-section) are eligible to donate their birth tissue. These tissues can be utilized to heal various eye, oral, and spinal injuries as well as heal wounds such as ulcers and burns. Tissues that would otherwise be considered medical waste are now able to be utilized to restore health and provide a new quality of life for others. The implementation of a Birth Tissue program will impact future generations through positive relationships with donation and serves as a gift for expecting mothers to consider.

How to Begin a Program

Selecting a hospital partner where there is an established relationship and culture of donation presents a valuable opportunity to implement a Birth Tissue Program. Rather than donation only being discussed following a tragic event, this changes the narrative to focus on a joyous life event that can also provide healing for others. It is beneficial to select a healthcare institution with a high volume of C-section deliveries in order for both hospital and OPO staff to get familiar with the process. There are varied approaches to establishing a Birth Tissue Program and sharing the option with expecting mothers in your community. The key differences are:

June 2021 Spotlight Key Differences

Placenta Donation falls under the category of living donation; therefore, it is appropriate for healthcare professionals to share the opportunity of donation with expecting mothers. Unlike deceased donation, these discussions do not require a designated requestor.

Language matters when broaching these conversations with expecting mothers, so it’s important to use appropriate terminology.

Key Considerations

June 2021 Spotlight Key Considerations V2

Potential Pitfalls: Managing Expectations

  • Physician/Provider Engagement – Unengaged partners will inevitably lead to low donor volumes so it’s important to identify champions. While engaging physicians as the leader of a practice can be valuable, other support staff can be equally influential in promoting the program; engage with the Medical Assistant, Clinic Receptionists, Nurses, Surgical Coordinators, etc.
  • Financial Investment – It’s important to forecast the number of potential acquisitions to determine the return on investment (ROI). Research the number of planned c-sections within your service area and extrapolate the monthly totals. A Birth Tissue Program requires a lot of work upfront so hiring staff dedicated to outreach and program development is recommended. Allocating the necessary resources upfront is critical to the program’s success.

Helpful Resources

Questions & Comments

Please send all questions and/or feedback to [email protected].

Worth Sharing
Volume VII Issue 1

A Special Thanks to This Series’ Contributors

Deanna Fenton
About the Editor |
Deanna Fenton

Deanna is a knowledgeable and versatile professional with diverse experiences in healthcare, client relations, marketing, project management and demonstrated skills in leadership and advocacy. Prior to joining The Alliance, she worked in Hospital Development at her local OPO in the state of New Jersey where she served as the clinical liaison to a number of Level 1 Trauma & Neuroscience centers as well as community hospitals. Her personal connection as a donor family and friend fuels her passion to support her colleagues across the donation-transplantation continuum through the development of valuable educational resources that ultimately boost performance and improve outcome measures. Deanna holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a minor degree in Public Health from Montclair State University. In her spare time, Deanna enjoys visiting vineyards, spending time with her family, and traveling in hopes of visiting all seven wonders of the world.

Advancing All.

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