All you wanted to know about Umbilical cord blood banking

A topic hot on the discussion board this year is the Umbilical cord blood banking.

What is umbilical cord blood banking?

Umbilical cord blood is basically the left over blood in the placenta and the umbilical cord after the birth of a child. The banking or storing of this blood is termed as umbilical cord blood banking. The blood is usually collected due to its contents – the stem cells! These stem cells are a great help during the treatment of hematopoietic and genetic disorders.

Where is it carries out?

The cord blood is stored in cord blood banks that can be both public and private. As the names suggest, public cord banks store cord blood that can be later on used by the general public. The blood is assigned to patients after matching and coordinating cord bloods. The private cord blood banks are for those organizations who store the blood for the exclusive use of the donating child and his family.  Medically, public cord banks are encouraged whereas the private ones are discouraged except if the family is known to have a funny history with medications and diseases – so it depends on genes and problems that re hereditary.

Why should the umbilical cord blood be saved?

The stem cells present in the umbilical cord are similar to those in the bone marrow – immature and having the capability to reproduce or turn into other types of cells. There are precisely the hematopoietic progenitor cells or the HPCs. These HPCs can be injected into patients with leukemia, lymphoma and other problems to help replenish their blood with healthy cells. Also, they can be used in chemotherapy or radiations to help the cancer patients. No one claims they could be life saving, but yes, they are a great deal of help – scientifically and practically.

How does one access to their baby’s cord blood?

After having it stored by a cord blood bank, you may access it as per their procedures and rules.

How is cord blood banking beneficial?

Maturity of stem cells from the umbilical cord is less as compared to that of the ones in the bone marrow. Also, collecting this is much painless and simple as compared to bone marrow donation. It is a wise decision if someone has leukemia, sickle cell anemia, etc, in the family already.

 

Is the baby or mother in risk in the procedure to save the umbilical cord blood?

No, there is absolutely no risk to the baby or the mother. It is just a five minute procedure where the doctor will cut the umbilical cord and collect the blood in it in the safe bag. Though not risky, it definitely is expensive.

If you are a parent to be, it is advisable for you to thoroughly search for the cons and pros and other limitations before taking a decision. One thing you need to be aware of is that the patient may have cancer, but stem cells may not be the only option to cure it!

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