It is a big day for Canadian Blood Services.
Canada’s first public blood bank for umbilical cord blood in Ottawa is now accepting donations.
Canadian Blood Services says it will allow the public to donate, instead of discard umbilical cords, which are a rich source of desperately needed stem cells.
The agency says about a thousand Canadians are currently waiting for life-saving stem cell transplants to treat diseases such as leukemia and lymphoma.
Canada was the last G8 nation to establish a national public cord blood bank.
Canadian Blood Services says once the bank is fully up and running, healthy pregnant women 18 years or older will be able to donate at collection hospitals in Ottawa, Brampton, Edmonton and Vancouver.
Due to funding limitations, there are no plans to establish a similar public cord blood bank in Hamilton.