Gift of Life Michigan partners with St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor to offer placenta donation

ANN ARBOR – Alyssa Voss and her son, Coleton, gave a unique gift to others on the day he was born.

The Voss family was the first in Michigan to donate their placenta as part of a new program aimed at providing nutrient-rich tissue to help patients with serious medical needs.

Expectant mothers who will give birth with a planned cesarean section at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor can take part in the unique program. St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor is the only hospital in the state offering placenta donation through Gift of Life Michigan, but the program likely will expand to other Michigan hospitals.

“We’re so excited to partner with St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor so we can offer one more way to help patients heal,” said Dorrie Dils, CEO of Gift of Life, the state’s organ and tissue donation program. “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.”

“As a hospital, we always strive to be forward thinking when it comes to implementing programs that can really help people,” said Dr. Bryan Popp, Department Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor. “Expanding our current Gift of Life program to include placenta donation is a natural next step in our collaboration. 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.”

The baby’s umbilical cord and placenta – normally discarded after birth – can be donated. The child’s birth is in no way affected, and there is no risk to the mother or the baby. The placenta technically belongs to the baby, making him or her the donor.

Alyssa Voss said she and her husband, Josh, knew donating their baby’s placenta was the right thing to do when she gave birth to Coleton in August. “It was going to be thrown in the trash, so it seemed logical to use it to help other people. We’re excited to know that our baby boy is already a hero.”

Placenta is rich in nutrients, so it has unique healing properties. It is most often used to heal traumatic wounds and diabetic ulcers – typically situations where there isn’t enough skin to close a wound. It’s also used to help people with eye injuries and diseases, dental and spinal procedures and sports injuries.

About Gift of Life
Gift of Life Michigan is a federally-designated Organ Procurement Organization that serves the State of Michigan as the intermediary between donors, their families and hospital staff. In collaboration with Eversight, Gift of Life provides all services necessary for organ, eye and tissue donation. For more information, or to sign up on the Donor Registry, visit www.golm.org or call 866.500.5801.

About Saint Joseph Mercy Health System
Saint Joseph Mercy Health System (SJMHS) is a health care organization serving seven counties in southeast Michigan including Livingston, Washtenaw, Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Jackson, and Lenawee. It includes 537-bed St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, 443-bed St. Joseph Mercy Oakland in Pontiac, 304-bed St. Mary Mercy Livonia, 136-bed St. Joseph Mercy Livingston in Howell, and 133-bed St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea.  Combined, the five hospitals are licensed for 1,553 beds, have five outpatient health centers, six urgent care facilities, more than 25 specialty centers; employ more than 15,300 individuals and have a medical staff of nearly 2,700 physicians.   SJMHS has annual operating revenues of about $2 billion and returns about $115 million to its communities annually through charity care and community benefit programs.

SJMHS is a member of Trinity Health, a leading Catholic health care system based in Livonia, Mich. Trinity Health operates in 22 states, employs about 133,000 colleagues, has annual operating revenues of $17.6 billion and assets of about $24.7 billion. Additionally, the organization returns almost $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs.

For more information on health services offered at Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, please visit www.stjoeshealth.org.

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