Wonderful things are being done with medicine. Many people are alive and healthy after having received bone marrow transplants or stem cell treatment. However, some bodies reject transplants or there are no matching donors to be found in time. Cord blood storage is being used now by many parents in order to have their child’s own stem cells available in the event that child or a matching family member is ever in need.
Most people do not know what cord blood is. It is the hemoglobin remaining in the umbilical cord after birth. The reason a family would decide to store it is because the stem cells can be used for medical treatments for that child or other family members. If not saved after birth, it is disposed at the hospital.
Stem cells perform as the dominant cells in the body. They contribute to the building of organs, tissues and systems within the body. They transform other cells to grow and develop and are also the building block of the immune system.
Stem cells are also being used to treat diseases that include leukemia and other cancers. It is also believed that stem cells help to repair tissues and induce healing. It is being currently used in experimental therapy to treat brain injury, juvenile diabetes and to treat cerebral palsy.
They differ from the stem cells collected from bone marrow in that they are younger biologically and have not been exposed to any of the viruses people are commonly exposed to. In addition, your child will not have to wait for a donor that matches. Instead they will have immediate access to their own stem cells that can be used to treat a disease in its early stages.
The baby whose cord hemoglobin has been stored will always be able to use the stem cells for numerous diseases. Other family member who qualify as a match may also use the cells. However, if the child has an inherited genetic condition of their own, treatment would have to come from a matched sibling’s stem cells.
There are two ways of collecting the hemoglobin and neither will interfere with vaginal or cesarean delivery. Also, it takes less than five minutes. In addition, it is painless, safe and simple.
One method is to use a syringe to draw the hemoglobin from the cord shortly after it has been cut. The other method is to elevate the cord and allow the hemoglobin to drain into a bag. Either syringe or bag will be labeled with a registration number exclusively used for that child.
The blood has to be collected during the first 15 minutes after birth. Then it must be processed and frozen by the laboratory within 48 hours. Cryogenic tanks are used to store it until needed. Under proper conditions the hemoglobin can be stored for an indefinite period,
A person can also choose to donate their baby’s cord hemoglobin if they decide to not keep it for their child. There are no costs involved when donating and it could prove to be valuable to another person. If this idea appeals to you, check with your doctor or hospital to make arrangements.