Banking Your Baby's Umbilical Cord Blood

Uma Shankari By Uma Shankari, 1st Feb 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>Drugs & Medicines

You should seriously consider banking your baby's umbilical cord blood or donating it to non-profit pubic banks.

What is cord blood?

When an expectant mother goes to the hospital for delivery, she puts away all the hitherto playful pastimes she had entertained all along – the baby's name, the dresses, first toys, and the color of the wall paint for the child's nursery. All that she and every body around her are concerned about is to have a safe delivery. In those crucial moments, they need to make one more decision: to preserve the umbilical cord blood in banks.

Umbilical cord blood is blood that remains in the placenta and in the attached umbilical cord after childbirth. Cord blood contains stem cells, including hematopoietic cells, which can be used to treat several genetic disorders. What are hematopoietic stem cells? These are primitive cells that are capable of developing into the three types of mature blood cells present in our blood – red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.

The placenta contains up to ten times more stem cells than cord blood and is a much better source of stem cells. Placenta is the temporary organ that transferred oxygen and nutrients to the baby while in the mother's uterus.

Until recently, people discarded the umbilical cord and placenta after delivery. Banking your baby’s blood and stem cells in a cord blood bank provides you with a good health insurance.

Using the stem cells from the cord blood

During the 70s, researchers discovered that umbilical cord blood could supply the same kinds of blood-forming hematopoietic stem cells as a bone marrow donor. The cord blood of your baby is an abundant source of stem cells, which are genetically distinctive to your baby and your family. Stem cells can transform into other types of cells, and this transformation of cells help physicians treat leukemia and some inherited disorders.

Some health conditions such as childhood cancers, blood diseases, and immune system disorders require radiation and chemotherapy treatments that kill not only the diseased cells in the body but also healthy stem cells that live in the bone marrow. Such children need a bone marrow transplant from a donor whose marrow cells closely match their own. When implanted, these stem cells go on to manufacture new, healthy blood cells and quickly restore health to normalcy. Compared to the stem cells from the bone marrow, they are significantly far less vulnerable to rejection.

Here is an excellent video that talks about the stem cells.

Drawing and preserving cord blood

Drawing cord blood is a simple and safe procedure and is done immediately after your baby is born and the umbilical cord has been clamped and cut. The procedure is the same for vaginal and cesarean births. The blood is frozen and preserved in cryogenic storage tanks.

If you belong to a racial minority group, or you are going to adopt the baby, or if you are using the services of a surrogate mother, you are encouraged to bank cord blood because it's harder to find a match, should a need arise later.

If you don't choose to bank your baby's cord blood, it will be discarded after birth. Since cost is going to be the major factor for most people, you may donate your baby's umbilical cord blood in a public bank for free. As more and more stem cells are being used by the medical science, it is bound to save someone's life some day. Watch the following video for an affirmation:

Read Also

Articles on regenerative medicine that use stem cells:

Wonders of Regenerative Medicine

Spare Body Parts: Growing Human Organs in the Lab

Tags

Cord Blood, Placenta, Stem Cell Research, Stem Cells, Umbilical Cord

Meet the author

author avatar Uma Shankari
I write on society, relationships, travel, health, nutrition and fitness.
http://www.triond.com/users/uma+shankari
Join Wikinut/Triond: http://www.wikinut.com/in/zjjjd/
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Comments

author avatar Ecoplants
2nd Feb 2011 (#)

A very nice topic to discuss on...will leave more comments, on a later date!!!

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