Are You Considering Stem Cell Banking? Here Is What You Need To Know

What does cord blood mean?

It is the blood remaining in the umbilical cord right after a baby is born. This blood is rich in stem cells. These cells can transform into many types of cells, including bone marrow, blood, and brain cells. These cells may be used for the treatment of many different diseases.

Stem cell transplants can treat certain types of anaemia, leukaemia, and also Hodgkin’s disease. Healthy stem cells can be transplanted into an ill person to grow new cells in the body. 

Many studies are being conducted to determine if stem cells could be used to treat other conditions. Treatment is currently limited to blood-related problems.

When the cord blood of a child is banked, it can be used in treating a sister or brother with a disease. Adults, who usually require a higher number of stem cells than what is present in cord blood, are not often treated with stem cells from cord blood.

What do you need to know about cord blood storage?

After birth, doctors usually discard the umbilical cord. However, the blood in the cord can be stored or banked for future use. After the cord has been cut, the blood is taken from it for storage. Stem cell banks store cord blood by freezing it.

You can choose a private bank for cord blood storage or approach a public bank for donation. A private storage service provider usually charges a fee for storing cord blood for your family. The cord blood can be donated to a public bank, which can be used by anyone who requires it.

You may receive brochures or ads from private cord blood banks during your pregnancy. Many of these brochures suggest that parents save cord blood to ensure the baby is able to receive stem cell transplants. You can also go through such brochures for the basic info you might require.

Note that cord blood donated to public banks is used for most cord blood stem cell transplants. Why? Because donations to public cord banks are valuable as stem cells from cord blood, they don’t need to be perfectly matched for transplant.

Are there other considerations you need to keep in mind?

  • The likeliness that your baby will ever require cord blood is very less, but you can still go for blood banking as a precautionary measure against future diseases.
  • A lot of parents may feel apprehensive about storing their baby’s cord blood, or some may be unable to pay for it. Also, since pregnancy is a time of emotional stress for both parents, deciding on such things might be difficult. But that’s ok. It’s not a subject to feel guilty about. Still, you can consider discussing this subject with your doctor for proper guidance.
  • Your baby’s cord blood will be tested for infectious and genetic diseases if it is donated or banked. The results of a genetic test could help you be aware of your child’s health condition.

If your child is found to have a genetic mutation that can cause disease, you might decide to treat it. There are many treatments available which you can opt for

Choosing a private bank for cord blood banking—

Make sure the bank that you choose to use for your baby’s cord blood storage follows established guidelines for stem cell and tissue collection. You should look for banks that have stored cord blood samples and which have had success in transplants. Ask for a copy of the bank’s policies.

Stem cells storage in a public bank—

You might decide to donate cord blood from your baby. Donating stem cells makes them available to others. Donation is free. Unfortunately, this is not an option for many people. To find out if cord blood can be donated, call the hospital where your baby is to be delivered.

How is cord blood collected at the time of birth?

Cord blood from your baby is collected by your doctor or the staff at the hospital where you give birth. The umbilical cord must be cut after the baby is born. The cord is then used for the extraction of blood using a needle with a bag attached to it. The entire process takes around 10 minutes.

While the storage banking service provider generally uses their own kits, you can also arrange for your kit. Do a cord blood collection kit price comparison over the internet, and you are sure to find a kit at a good price.However, cord blood banking service is not offered by all hospitals. Some hospitals charge an additional fee, which may or not be covered under your insurance.

Final Words:

There are numerous benefits of using stem cells extracted from cord blood in place of those collected from bone marrow to treat diseases. One of the most important benefits is that cord blood stem cells can be used to treat a higher number of people than bone marrow stem cells. This simply means that the likeliness that stem cells from core blood will be rejected is lower when compared to stem cells extracted from the bone marrow.

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