Nowadays, doctors and researchers advise parents to consider cord blood banking after childbirth because of its promising possible uses. Parents may have some hesitations about it, but it’s actually something they should invest on because of its long-term advantages.
Before knowing its advantages, it’s important to know what cord blood banking is.
What’s Cord Blood Banking
The umbilical cord is a flexible cord that transports blood and nutrients from the mother to an infant during pregnancy. The blood from an infant’s umbilical cord during childbirth is rich in hematopoietic stem cells. Cord Blood Banking is the storage of new-born stem cells from the blood in the placenta and umbilical cord for future use.
What’s Special About Cord Blood
Cord blood contains hematopoietic stem cells which produce others with similar composition as those in the bone marrow used to treat a wide range of diseases.
Usually, parents focus on many things they deem necessary for the care of their infants. They may even plan things way too early, such as looking for the right school to send their children to or choosing a suitable pediatrician for their children.
Storing your baby’s cord blood might not be on your list of concerns, but there are good reasons why you should consider this.
Here are some long-term advantages of cord blood banking:
1. Treats A Wide Range of Diseases
Hematopoietic stem cells treat a plethora of diseases like genetic disorders, neurologic disorders, immunity to cancer in the blood such as lymphoma and leukaemia, and many more. As a parent, there’s no greater satisfaction than knowing you’re protecting your child from numerous diseases.
Experimental programs use these cells, with the successful ones released and administered as primary treatment to some diseases.
2. Better Match Options
Cell transplant requires a very high percentage of a match for it to be successful. Matching cells stored in public or private databases are available, but the chance of finding a perfect match is low.
Stem cells found in a family member’s blood would most likely yield a successful transplant. Siblings often share up to 75% of a possible match, while parents provide a 100% match.
Storing your new-born baby’s cord blood is convenient as it may aid you or another family member should the need arise in the future.
3. Less Risk of Post-Transplant Complications
Cord blood stem cells have a minimized risk of post-transplant graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) since they’re readily acceptable by the body than bone marrows.
As cord blood stem cells haven’t been exposed to diseases, they have the lowest chance of being contaminated with viruses. This reduces the risk of post-transplant complications.
4. Future Availability
One great advantage of cord blood banking that undergirds the rest is it provides you the convenience of storing your child’s cord blood for future use.
Donating your baby’s cord blood in a public bank means allowing it to be used to help treat a sick child.
However, when you store your baby’s cord blood in a private bank, it’s neither used for nor donated to another person. It’s reserved for you and your family to mitigate any complication that may occur over time.
Availability Of Cord Blood Storage Banks
There are readily available cord banks for cord blood storage. These banks exist in two types:
- Private Banks: They’re used to store cord blood for personal and family use, and usually have a fee for storage services. Families that register histories of diseases which stem cells can treat mainly use private banks.
- Public Banks: They process and store umbilical cord blood donations for research and public use. Since these donations are mainly for assisting people whose complications get treated by stem cells, there are no fees applied for storage.
Cord Tissue Banking
Another related process is cord tissue banking. The stem cells located in the cord tissue are at the top of their ability to generate more stem cells during extraction at birth. Therefore, it increases the chances of generating as many cells as possible before it gradually decreases. This reduces the number of complications that might arise.
A professional midwife can help in preventing tearing during birth to minimize infections and retain the highly generative factor of cells in the cord tissue.
The benefits of cord blood banking are not always immediate and can seem too distant to worry about. However, the importance becomes clear when a complication occurs. In times like these, your baby’s stored cord blood may be the only solution. Modern medical practices allow us to take advantage of options that help make your life and those of your loved ones better.
My son was thinking about this before their son was born but decided not to go ahead with it.
Cord Blood Banking is great but quite expensive for us!