Cord blood, the urban term for umbilical cord blood, is a rich source of stem cells that should be preserved as a precious medical resource to treat certain medical ailments involving hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. These uninfected stem cells in the placenta and umbilical cord of the mother can be painlessly removed after the baby is born to store away for future use.
Why should you preserve your cord blood?
Using the stem cells from your cord blood will benefit your blood-related family members, who enjoy higher chances of matching before the transplant. This matching is necessary, as it minimizes the risk of a post-transplant complication known as Graft-Versus-Host disease.
You can even donate your cord blood to children suffering from lymphoma and leukemia, which cause millions of death in the US annually. Both bone marrow replacement and stem cell transplant can help in such conditions. However, it’s more difficult to find a match in case of bone marrow transplant than stem cells. All parents should give it a thought before throwing such a life-saver away for nothing.
What is cord blood banking?
Cord blood banking is the process where the stem cells are carefully removed from your placenta and umbilical cord and stored away in public or private cord blood banks. You have to contact the bank in advance to arrange for a collection kit, and after some blood tests and a careful analysis of your medical history, the blood will be collected during delivery.
But how exactly is the cord blood going to help you?
Well, if your family has a history of genetic diseases, your baby or even you can develop the condition in the future. But the good news here is cord blood banking will secure your family by treating such issues. Many degenerative disorders like Type 1 diabetes and autism, blood disorders like sickle-cell anemia, immune disorders like DiGeorge syndrome and a plethora of other conditions can be treated with stem cell transplant.
The stem cells from your cord blood are pure, uninfected and hence should be preserved as a priceless medical resource. Even certain cancers have been reportedly treated with cord blood.
Is cord blood banking safe?
According to the FDA, cord blood can be immensely useful to patients requiring regenerative transplants. The stem cells in cord blood can grow into blood cells to treat certain blood and immune system disorders like sickle-cell anemia, lymphoma, the Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome, and even leukemia.
Chemotherapy treatments for cancers that develop from the blood may destroy the healthy blood cells along with the cancerous cells. In such cases, the stem cells from cord blood can be transplanted into the patient’s body to replenish the damage.
As cord blood is stored effectively by cryopreservation, you can avail them even after several years to save your child or any first-degree relative. FDA ensures the safety and minimizes contamination risks and chances of infection by regulating certain factors like establishment registration, screening, and testing before use.
Should the cord blood be used by an unrelated donor, the FDA treats it both as a biological product and a drug, which should be both licensed and subjected to investigation before being used.
Do you realize how important it’s to preserve your cord blood now? Make sure you go the extra mile to secure your child’s future, and possibly others’ too.