More and more parents are making the decision to store the blood of their baby’s umbilical cord. Known as “cord blood banking,” it can be one of the most important decisions you make before the birth of your new baby.
Why is cord blood banking so important?
First, it helps to understand what the umbilical cord does. The umbilical cord is rich in blood supply, and it connects the placenta within the mother’s womb to the growing embryo/fetus.
This is how the baby receives its nourishment to sustain life within the womb.
The umbilical cord blood is rich in stem cells, cells that are undifferentiated but can later differentiate into specialized ones.
As a result, they can be used to treat serious medical diseases such as leukemia, and some metabolic and immune disorders.
They are also proving important in studies of people with progressive, degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease. Studies continue to find more uses for stem cells in treating the human body all the time.
By banking your baby’s stem cells from the umbilical cord, you are providing some degree of insurance should your child need to use them in the future for treatment of a medical condition.
Why not just cross that bridge when the time comes, and then look at donor stem cells if it becomes necessary in the future?
Although donor stem cells are a possibility, they also carry the risk of rejection by your child’s body.
By using your child’s own stem cells, there is no risk of the body’s immune system rejecting its own stem cells.
What is involved in banking the cord blood?
Before your baby is born:
You will need to find a reputable company that will safeguard your baby’s umbilical cord blood for years to come. Most places require that you register, and then they provide you with a collection kit for use by the healthcare professional.
You will also want to ensure that your physician, midwife, or other healthcare professional knows how to do the collection and will follow through upon the birth of your baby.
After your baby is born:
Once the umbilical cord has been clamped and cut, then it is time to collect the cord blood. As a result, there is no pain for the mother or the baby.
A needle is inserted into the umbilical cord to withdraw the blood, which is collected in a storage bag.
The blood then gets sent to the company, where the blood gets processed and stored. Storage occurs in cryogenic facilities.
In summary, cord blood banking can be one of the best health insurance policies you ever choose for your child.
Hopefully, your child never has to use his stem cells, but you can rest assured knowing that you have done all you can to ensure a healthy and happy future for him.