New Local Partnership Makes Placenta Donation Possible

A new program in metro Detroit – the first of its kind in Michigan – is offering placenta donation. Learn about this local program and why placenta donation is beneficial.

Woman in hospital gown holding newborn baby

A new partnership is making it possible for women in Michigan to donate their placentas after childbirth.

While some new mothers opt to plant their placenta in the ground, encapsulate it into pills or make a placenta smoothie, a lesser-known option is placenta donation. Since the placenta is a nutrient-rich tissue, it has many medical uses.

With that in mind, St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor and Gift of Life Michigan have teamed up to offer a placenta donation program that will help patients with serious medical needs, St. Joseph Mercy explained in a recent press release. The donation program – the first of its kind in Michigan – will be available only at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor to start, though it will likely expand, says Dorrie Dils, CEO of Gift of Life Michigan, which is the federally-designated organ procurement organization serving the state of Michigan.

“We’re so excited to partner with St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor so we can offer one more way to help patients heal,” Dils says in the release. “Historically, we have provided families with an opportunity to save and help others during a time of grief and loss. This incredible opportunity is creating a legacy of giving for moms and babies as they celebrate new life.”

The placenta and umbilical cord are usually discarded after birth, although some parents choose to keep it. Dr. Bryan Popp, chair of obstetrics and gynecology at St. Joseph Mercy, said offering placenta donation is a “natural next step” in collaborating with Gift of Life.

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“We are thrilled to help families who are welcoming their newborns to now be able to make a difference in someone else’s life by donating their placenta,” he says in the release.

5 Reasons to Donate

If you or someone you know is expecting, consider these facts about placenta donation and reach out to Gift of Life Michigan if you’re interested in more information.

  1. A donated placenta can be used to help heal patients’ traumatic wounds and diabetic ulcers, according to St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, often in “situations where there isn’t enough skin to close a wound.”
  2. People with eye injuries and diseases can benefit from a donated placenta, as can those with spinal procedures and sports injuries. According to a report from CTV News in Canada, surgeons use “amnion” from the inner layer of the amniotic membrane to act as a “scaffold over which other cells can grow to repair wounds.”
  3. A single placenta can benefit many people. In fact, 12 to 100 transplantable grafts can be produced from one donated placenta, Catholic Health reports.
  4. People who have suffered severe burns can also benefit from placenta donation, because the tissue from the placenta can be used for burn victim skin grafts, Catholic Health adds on its website.
  5. While dental problems may not come to mind when it comes to placenta donation, Romper notes that placenta tissue can be used as gum grafts during dental procedures.

Would you consider donating your placenta? Tell us why or why not in the comments.

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