Cord blood banking might be a solution for problems in the future that you don’t know even know about today. That’s because science has discovered cord blood can be valuable in treating many dangerous diseases like leukemia, other cancers, blood disorders, metabolic disorders, and immune diseases.
The cord blood is extracted from the umbilical cord right after birth. It is rich in a variety of blood products that can treat the same baby, or other members of the same family, if they develop any of these problems later in life.
1. What makes cord blood so powerful?
The reason cord blood is so effective is that it is rich in stem cells. Now we know that stem cells can be used to treat any number of illnesses and ailments that might afflict both children and adults. Stem cells are sometimes called immature cells, but that is a misnomer because this gives them the ability to mimic the actions of other types of cells. They can actually reproduce themselves when they are introduced into another body. Some of these calls like the ones in the umbilical cord blood and bone marrow are called hematopoietic progenitor cells. They have been proven to be some of the powerful stem cells available.
2. How does the umbilical cord work?
To understand how umbilical cord blood products work, it is important to know how that cord works. The umbilical cord is the main connection between a baby and their mother. One end of the umbilical cord is attached to the mother through the placenta and the other to the baby. This permits the flow of oxygen and nutrients from the mother’s bloodstream to her baby. It truly is the lifeblood of the baby. In addition to feeding the baby it provides immunity to the baby and returns deoxygenated blood and waste products back to the placenta.
3. Why umbilical cord blood is good
We know that umbilical cord blood is good because it helps protect the baby in its mother’s womb from illness and infection. So, it must be good for other purposes as well. It is removed from the mother with a simple incision that does no harm to baby and mother. The umbilical cord still has intact stem cells that contain blood that can be developed into blood products to help the baby and its relatives in the future.
4. How is umbilical cord blood harvested?
After the baby is born the umbilical cord blood is cut and clamped. Then, the umbilical cord is wiped clean and the cord blood is drawn into a syringe or drained into a collection bag. You can get anywhere from 60ml or 2 ounces of cord blood from a normal umbilical cord. It is very important that the cord blood be collected and stored immediately after birth. It can later be processed and frozen in cryogenic storage tanks by a lab. It will then be available for extraction and treatment when it is required in the future.
5. Cord blood banks
Once the cord blood has been properly processed it can be stored in a private or public cord bank. Each option has positives. A private cord bank will cost more but will be available for the personal use of the family that chooses this option. That is great for larger families or parents that expect to have multiple children. Public cord banks, on the other hand, are cheaper and would be available to any family that might need cord blood for one of their children. This is normally a free service and a very valuable contribution to both the community and public health.