There has been a recent hype about cord blood and saving it in a blood bank. The American Academy of Pediatrics is advising parents to collect the cord blood of their child, which is not only beneficial for the child, but for others as well. So, before diving deep into the benefits of cord blood, let’s look at what cord blood actually is.
What is Cord Blood?
When a baby is born, it is attached to the mother by a tube. That tube is called the umbilical cord. The blood that is remained in the umbilical cord and the placenta is called cord blood. It is advised to collect cord blood as it contains stem cells, which can be used to treat various diseases and disorders. The stem cells found in cord blood are more pristine as they are not exposed to illnesses and can be collected without putting the child or the mother in danger.
What is Cord Blood Banking?
It is the process of collecting cord blood from the placenta and the umbilical cord when a baby is delivered. Cord blood banking is a safe and painless procedure that doesn’t put the baby or the mother at any risk at all. As soon as the baby is delivered, the doctor clamps both ends of the umbilical cord and cuts at least 10 inches apart. He will then proceed to insert the needle inside the cord and then the placenta and begin to collect the blood. The blood is then taken to the lab for testing and storage. Mainly there are two ways to store the cord blood:
- Publicly: It is totally free and up to the parent to donate cord blood to a public cord blood bank. However, doctors only recommend preserving large donations of cord blood as they prove to be the most beneficial. The doctors then list the blood against the donor and keep it preserved until need.
- Privately: Parents can also choose to preserve cord blood in family cord blood for some fee. Private cord blood banking is a way to collect, process, and store stem cells for future use by the parents. It also acts as a biological insurance for the baby and for close family members.
How Does Cord Blood Banking Help Your Child
The first thing you need to know is that cord blood is not only helpful for the child who gave it, but it can also be beneficial for the siblings. Cord blood is really useful for your child as it can be used to treat certain non-genetic diseases and even cancer. And it can be used by siblings to cure blood disorders and other numerous syndromes. The blood in the umbilical cord is rich in stem cells, and it can be used to guarantee the safety of your child in the future. Stem cells are termed as the masters of blood cells. These cells have the ability to develop themselves into the part of blood that a patient normally requires. You can store this blood to treat the following diseases he might suffer from in the future.
- Bone Marrow Failure
- Blood Disorders such as Anemia or Thalassemia
- Metabolic Disorders
There used to be a very hot debate regarding whether the cord blood should be stored or not. Only recently have doctors realized how precious it can prove to be in the treatment of numerous diseases. Where the diseases that cord blood cures are not very common in a lot of people, and there aren’t many chances that the child will develop them in the future, it is still better to prepare for worst than crying over spilled milk. Currently, using cord blood is an approved treatment for over 80 diseases, and it has been used in more than 40,000 treatments.
The Bottom Line
As it is natural for the body to fight against what it believes to be outside contaminants, it is very hard to transfuse stem cells into the body. The body can mistake these stem cells for something else and start attacking the host’s body. This condition is known as graft-versus-host disease. To prevent these diseases, the stem cells need to match the cells of the body of the patient to a certain degree. So, if you have preserved your baby’s cord blood, which is rich in stem cells, it very easy to do the transfusion process in the future.