Blood is a very important fluid in the human body, useful even to the point of saving other people’s lives. While blood transfusion is a common method known to have saved many lives, especially in cases of extreme blood loss, the blood in the form of umbilical cord blood can also be used to help people with severe ailments such as severe combined immunodeficiency disease (SCID), malignancies and several blood disorders. The medical healing method is called cord blood transplant. One of many beneficial umbilical cord blood uses.
Similar to blood transfusions, cord blood transplants operate mainly in coordination with cord blood banking storage companies that store cord blood and distribute them to hospitals or private medical facilities, when needed.
Cord Blood Banking
Detailed in this article are the 10 essential things to understand when considering cord blood banking. The information below can be used as a parents guide to cord blood banking.
1. What is a Cord Blood?
A cord blood specifically pertains to the blood taken from the umbilical cord of a newborn child right after birth. It is also commonly referred to as umbilical cord blood. The umbilical cord is a rich resource of hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs), blood-forming stem cells. Cord blood transplants as well as bone marrow transplants have saved over 20,000 lives in the United States because both are effective sources for HPCs that heal patients with blood disorders. Statistics reported by the Institute of Medicine show approximately 6,000 recorded cord blood transplants.
2. What is Cord Blood Banking
So what is a cord blood bank? Cord blood banking is a highly relevant venture in both the field of medical business and public medical facilities. It has become a potentially lucrative business to display growth.
Couples who are expecting birth have several avenues of information-gathering about cord blood banking companies in their convenience – can be available in parenting magazines, television ads, on the Web, doctors’ recommendations, and in their own mailboxes. How much is it to bank cord blood? In fact, the cost of cord blood banking may vary.
3. Benefits of Cord Blood Banking
Is cord blood banking worth it? Should I do cord blood banking? Why bank cord blood? The decision to bank cord blood can be a valuable move. The benefits of cord blood is mainly based on the proven fact that it is effectively rich in stem cells, immature cells that can both reproduce themselves and have the potential to turn into varied types of cells.
Cord Blood Uses
The type of stem cells that can be found in all babies’ umbilical cord blood are hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs). These HPCs – also known in the medical field as blood-forming stem cells – it can be injected into the bloodstream of patients with life-threatening diseases such as leukemia, sickle cell anemia, lymphoma and other blood disorders. Taking cord blood can also help the patient recover from extremely bodily stressful cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation, because the HPCs will help the body rejuvenate the blood supply with new, healthy cells.
Cord blood cells are less mature than the cells from the bone marrow so there is less chances for rejection of the blood from the recipient’s body. As such, donated cord blood has become an increasingly significant resource used by medical professionals for the development and testing of new medical treatment procedures.
4. How probable will umbilical cord blood be used?
Properly stored cord blood will last up to 10 years. According to the National Marrow Donor Program, researchers are still in the process of finding out how long will stem cells in cord blood indeed last.
As a long-proven bountiful source of blood-forming cells, cord blood has significantly a high probability of being used in the treatment of people after it has been donated. The odds of a child needing donated stem cells are 1 in 2,500 but it is more important to note that the probability of a child using his or her own stem cells for a transplant operation is 1 in 5,000. Moreover, there is a 25% chance of a perfect match for cord blood transplant between siblings but there is an equal chance that the blood are not likely to match with each other.
5. How is umbilical cord blood collected?
The process of banking cord blood follows a standard procedure. When you plan to store your child’s cord blood (whether in public or private banks), it is important to coordinate with your doctor and the hospital where you will give birth so that a collection kit will be ready during the delivery of your baby.
Basically, the parents must finish the registration of their intent to donate or privately store their baby’s cord blood between the 28th and 34th weeks of pregnancy. This comes with the absolute requirement that the mother of the child whose cord blood will be taken must pass a health history test. This test is required to prevent complications in the donor’s blood – such as hereditary diseases – that will risk the rejection of the recipient’s body to the transplanted blood.
Collection of the cord blood can be done either before or after the placenta is delivered. When the umbilical cord of your baby has been cut off from his or her body, your doctor will draw the blood from it through the insertion of a small needle into the discarded umbilical vein.
Afterwards, the hospital’s courier will deliver the blood to the cord blood bank. In the respective cord blood bank, medical technologists will separate the umbilical cord stem cells from the rest of the blood and then store them in frozen form in liquid nitrogen. This makes many refer to the process of storing umbilical cord blood stem cells as stem cell storage.
6. Private Cord Blood Banking
Families can opt to store their cord blood in private cord blood banks for their exclusive personal use. These private banks charge fees for the initial processing and storage of umbilical cord blood bank. Private cord blood banking may range from $1,300 to $2,200, as well as an annual fee of about $100. The United States, for instance, at present caters to the operation of over twenty private cord blood banks – the oldest being operational since 1992.
7. Public Cord Blood Banking
How to donate cord blood? When it comes to public umbilical cord blood banking, they collect donated cord blood wherein cord blood storage is anonymously kept without any fee charged to the donor, since the donation will be for public use. However, due to its nature of public usage, the family might not be able to utilize their baby’s donated cord blood if someone in their family may need it in cases like the development of a disease that requires stem cell transplant. This is because the donated cord blood may have already been given to someone else, used in research, or discarded (cord blood may be discarded when the amount donated is too small).
The next items discusses brief pros and cons of cord blood banking.
8. Pros of Cord Blood Banking
Cord blood banking pros and cons is a significant factor to understand. Blood cord banking has many advantages for any family whether they choose to store the cord blood in private or public banks, as discussed earlier. Along several treatment benefits, one of the most essential point on why cord blood is worth saving is the fact that the process of taking cord blood is actually simple and painless. Cord blood transplant and donation is much less stressful than bone marrow donation.
Also, besides thinking ahead for the possibility of a family member to contract a blood disorder or medical condition, cord blood banking is beneficial in saving lives of other people who might currently be suffering and badly needed the cord blood. Thus, when donating cord blood, you will be contributing help to the ongoing struggle of an individual to survive against underlying disease.
9. Cons of Cord Blood Banking
Even if umbilical cord blood banking has many advantages, it has its own downsides. Most importantly is the incompatibility concerns with the treatment procedure. For instance: When a child becomes ill with certain genetic ailments, transplanting his or her own umbilical cord blood will not help him or her because it mainly came from the child, and thereby, contains the same genetic flaws that may have caused the disease in the first place.
10. The search for the best cord blood banking companies:
The following are things to consider when looking for the best cord blood bank. Being able to identify the top cord blood banks can be helpful to narrow your options.
• The company’s financial stability, including years in business.
• Number of samples processed at the facility. A larger number may ensure better collection and handling procedures.
• Company policy on switching facilities.
• Information about what happens to your banked blood if the company goes out of business.
• A list of medical personnel who will facilitate the cord blood transfer to the bank.
• Names and biographies of the cord blood bank’s board of medical consultants.
• Fee information, including maintenance costs and whether the annual fees are fixed or can go up.
• Accreditation. The cord blood bank must be accredited by FACT (Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy) and the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB). All cord blood banks must be registered with the FDA.
Cord blood banking is worth more than the enlisted essentials we have covered here. To find out more on the value it will truly bring your life is to try out cord blood banking as desired.
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