Regardless of whether or not you have given birth, you're probably at least familiar with placenta. But if you are pregnant, you might not know about all the amazing things your donated placenta can do. Since I had a Cesarean section, the medical staff simply removed my placenta, which my partner said, "looked like meat." At the time I wasn't very knowledgeable about the various options available, such as donation, traditional burial, or encapsulation. Looking back, I wish I had been.
To give you a brief refresher on why this organ is so important, "this structure provides oxygen and nutrients to your growing baby and removes waste products from your baby's blood," according to the official site for the Mayo Clinic. If the placenta can accomplish so much for you and your little one while in your uterus, imagine the benefits it could provide outside the womb in a medical situation. Technology, medical knowledge, and science have all come a long way, especially in terms of maternal and fetal health. With all the advancements made in those fields, it's still astonishing how just one organ can be utilized in many different ways. So if you're considering donation, check out all these amazing things your donated placenta can do.
1It Can Help Burn Victims
Because the placenta's primary function is to help your baby grow, it's a great source for healing and regenerative uses after it's finished its job in your body. According to the Tampa Bay St. Joseph's Women's Hospital, the most common things a donated placenta is used for is to treat serious burns that would otherwise be difficult to treat with standard practices alone.
2It Aids In Eye Surgery
As professor of ophthalmology Dr. Arun Gulani told the official website for the University of Florida (UF), amniotic membrane tissue (AMT) from a donated placenta, "can replace the surface of the eye, temporarily acting as scaffolding, joining the patient's tissue together to allow healing." In addition to this amazing feat, the AMT, "also acts as a natural bandage, which provides an antibacterial barrier that stimulates healing," Gulani told UF. Who knew that one organ donation could assist in a surgery to restore vision?
3It Can Treat Dental Problems
For all the flossing and brushing you do, injuries and diseases can still affect your mouth in unexpected ways. As dentist Dr. Brian Gurinsky wrote on his official site, placenta tissue can be used as gum grafts during dental operations and leads to, "faster healing, less pain, and a shorter surgical procedure."
4It Assists In Tissue Regeneration
According to the MiMedx Tissue Service's (MMTS) official site for its Placenta Donation Program, the AMT from a placenta assists in cell regeneration of damaged tissue throughout the body. Again, the surface has been barely scratched when it comes to understanding the full potential for cellular regeneration.
5It Relieves Inflammation
Popping an Asprin for inflammation pain may soon become a thing of the past. According to the official site for Unyts, an organ, eye, tissue and community blood center in the state of New York, tissue from a placenta has anti-inflammatory properties and can be used to help individuals who experience injury-related or chronic painful swelling. This could have long-term benefits for people living with inflammation.
6It Provides Future Benefits For Your Baby
Though your donated placenta often goes towards helping complete strangers, a portion of the blood filtered through the placenta can help your family, too. As pathologist Dr. Nancy L. Sapanara told the Parent's Guide To Cord Blood Foundation on the official site, blood derived from the placenta contains stem cells unique to your baby. This means that, if somewhere down the line your child needs a transplant, infusion, or surgery, the placental blood is rarely rejected since the material matches their own cellular blueprint. Different than cord blood banking, the blood from your placenta has many more applications for your baby's future health.
7It Speeds Up Injury Recovery
As the MMTS site noted, the AMT from a donated placenta mends soft tissue damage. From sports injuries to car accidents, speeding up the healing time for patients with this kind of damage is invaluable.
8It Reduces Scar Tissue
Similar to treating burn victims and regenerating damaged tissue, AMT from a donated placenta can reduce scar tissue, according to Unyts. For people who already have marks from a previous injury or illness, AMT can work on a cellular level to soften and diminish scar tissue. It seems the possibilities are truly endless for what a donated placenta can do.