San Francisco’s First Public Cord Blood Donation, Collection Center at Kaiser Permanente

South San Francisco, Ca   August 16, 2017  by Joe Fragola, PR and Media Relations, Kaiser Permanente San Francisco


Erin Antunez and Britt Candell and their son Atlas



When their son Atlas was born six months ago at Kaiser Permanente San Francisco, Britt Candell and her wife Erin Antunez chose to donate their son’s cord blood.


“We were excited that our child, upon entering the world, could potentially help others just by being born,” said Britt.


Erin shared another more personal reason.  Her father died of a rare blood disease.  “We would like to do anything we can to help other families so they do not have to experience the loss my family endured,” she said.


Britt and Erin were among the first donors to Kaiser Permanente San Francisco’s cord blood donation and collection center, a new partnership with the Cleveland Cord Blood Center announced last month. It is the city’s first hospital to provide expectant parents with the opportunity to donate their babies’ umbilical cord blood to a public cord blood bank.


The San Francisco collection center is supported by the California Umbilical Cord Blood Collection Program, a statewide public program to capture a genetically diverse bank of cord blood units available to anyone for lifesaving transplantations. A more diverse pool increases the chances of a match, particularly for minority groups and patients of mixed heritage. Minority donations are underrepresented in public cord banks.


A CCBC-trained team collects and prepares the cord blood for shipment to the Northeast Ohio center. Units approved for clinical use will be processed, stored and ultimately listed on an international registry which is accessible by doctors worldwide.


It all started in 2008, when San Francisco Nurse Practitioner Jennifer Tagatz was pregnant with her first child.  She saw a television news story about umbilical cord blood collection and how it could save lives, especially for families from minority communities. But it wasn’t until after her twins were born a couple of years later that she started researching the subject.


That was in 2011. Now, in 2017, Jennifer is part of the Kaiser Permanente San Francisco team on the public cord blood bank. Her enthusiasm for cord blood donation and its role in treatment and scientific research inspired Britt and Erin to donate their son’s cord blood.


“After I started researching cord blood donation, I realized how important it was to medical treatment and how it could save lives”, said Tagatz, who is the Outpatient Liaison for the KPSF Cord Blood Program.


“We work day-to-day helping mothers deliver babies safely, and now parents have the opportunity to bank their babies’ cord blood for the greater good,” said Dr. Merritt McLean, OB/Gyn, Assistant Director of Perinatal Care at KPSF.  “Our parents are able to include the donation of their babies’ umbilical cord blood in their prenatal plan, and are happy that their birth experience can also help other people have a new chance for life.”


The addition of Kaiser Permanente San Francisco as a donation and collection center expands CCBC’s Cleveland-based umbilical cord collection to the West Coast. The Cleveland Cord Blood Center is working to expand its relationship with other Kaiser Permanente Medical Centers in Northern California.


“We are excited to participate in California’s Umbilical Cord Blood Collection Program with the Cleveland Cord Blood Center,” said Maria Ansari, Physician-in-Chief, Kaiser Permanente San Francisco. “Cord blood units collected here have the potential to save a life anywhere in the country. Participation in a public cord blood program allows our patients to donate their babies cord blood to benefit the health of the community.”


For more information on public umbilical cord blood donation:


California Umbilical Cord Blood Collection Program



Cleveland Cord Blood Center



Parent’s Guide to Cord Blood Foundation



The National Marrow Donor Program



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