Frances Verter, Ph.D.
Parent's Guide to Cord Blood Foundation, Founder & Director
Frances Verter founded the Parent's Guide to Cord Blood in 1998 in memory of her daughter Shai. She started her career as a research scientist, earning a B.S. in physics from Brooklyn College and a Ph.D. in astrophysics from Princeton University. Her life changed course unexpectedly when her daughter Shai was diagnosed with cancer (see Shai's Story). The photo to the left shows Verter with Shai in Sept. 1994. As Shai's mother, Verter learned to be a patient advocate in order to take better care of her child. She found that her training as a scientist enabled her to review research on Shai's diagnosis and seek out treatment from the best doctors and the best hospitals. After Shai passed away, Verter went on to have more children and decided to bank their cord blood privately. The effort of researching the cord blood banks available at that time led to the formation of the Parent's Guide to Cord Blood website. For many years the website was a community service that Verter did on the side of her day job at NASA. But gradually, that side began swallowing the rest of her life. She decided in 2006 to try to make a career out the project, and converted it into a non-profit foundation. Since then, she has thrown herself even deeper into following everything about cord blood, from the process of pre-birth consent for donation to the use of cord blood in clinical trials. She regularly attends conferences, gives talks, and publishes articles. She is LinkedIn to professionals around the world. Frances Verter supports both public donation and family banking of cord blood, depending on the circumstances of the family.