Avera teams with Dakota Lions Sight and Health for Birth Tissue Donation Program

Published: Nov. 15, 2021 at 10:31 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - A new program connecting Avera Health patients with tissue that can go a long way to help them heal.

Dakota Lions Sight and Health is teaming up with Avera for the “Birth Tissue Donation” program.

The Veurink family recently donated to the program.

The newest member of the family, Riley, was born on August 30th at Avera.

At only a few months old, he’s already a hero.

That’s because after Riley was born, the tissues that protected and helped him develop in the womb were donated to help others.

“It’s amazing, and the fact that I don’t need it and my child didn’t need it anymore, it was just going to go into the trash. So it’s fantastic to be able to help somebody in that way,” said Veurink.

When Veurink and her doctor at Avera decided to baby Riley via C-section, she learned that she would be eligible to donate her placenta through a program by Dakota Lions Sight & Health.

“Typically these are discarded after the birth of a baby, we don’t do anything with them,” said Dr. Catherine Brockmeier, an OB/GYN at Avera Medical Group. “They get thrown away because we don’t need them anymore. But it’s incredible because they can give life and help with healing for other patients.”

Recognizing these healing properties, Dakota Lions Sight & Health launched the Birth Tissue Donation Program and teamed up with Avera Health.

“It’s really, really easy. We team them up with the program, someone from the program comes at the time of their c section, collects the birth parts, they give their consent for that, and that’s about it,” said Dr. Brockmeier. “It is really a tremendous way to give back to other people.”

The tissue from a placenta donated after a single C-section can help anywhere from 20 to 40 people.

“The unique thing about the placenta is that it has special cells that aid in healing and decreasing inflammation. And it has some antimicrobial properties to it, along with those growth hormones,” said Marcy Dimond, CEO of Dakota Lions Sight & Health. “So it’s the perfect tissue for a patient who has severe burns or corneal ulcer or injury to the eye, it’s being used in diabetic wounds, diabetic foot ulcers. And what’s really unique about it is it also helps to decrease pain. So it’s really an amazing tissue that we are learning more and more about.”

The Birth Tissue Donation program is relatively new for Dakota Lions Sight & Health. About 30 mothers have donated so far.

For Veurink, she says it was a simple, easy process, one she would recommend to any mom-to-be that’s planning a C-section delivery.

“Oh, 100 percent. Just with talking to people at the Lions bank, they are so incredibly helpful with a wealth of knowledge and it makes you feel good at the end of the day, that now only do you get to have a beautiful baby brought into this world, but you also get to help people at the same time.”

For more information on the tissue donation program head over to

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