During your pregnancy, you’ll have many important decisions to make as you prepare for the arrival of your new baby. One of the most important decisions is whether or not to save your child’s umbilical cord blood.
Let’s explore why saving your infant’s cord blood is so important, and how you can get started.
What is Cord Blood?
Cord blood is harvested from the placenta and umbilical cord. This precious blood is considered very valuable because it’s loaded with stem cells.
Many parents wonder why save baby cord blood? What are the benefits of baby cord blood storage and how is the blood used?
Did you know that cord blood cells can change into different types of blood cells? Because of this, cord blood is commonly used to treat diseases that attack the immune system and harm the blood. This includes metabolic disorders and disease such as sickle cell anemia, in addition to certain types of cancer.
Cord blood is used to treat a wide range of disorders, which is why many doctors, scientists, and specialists recommend storing cord blood.
Keep in mind that the stem cells found in cord blood differ from embryonic stem cells. In order to harvest embryonic stem cells, the human embryo is destroyed. Stem cells found in cord blood have some of the same effects as embryonic stem cells but are not derived from an actual embryo.
Currently, cord blood is used to treat almost eighty diseases. By choosing to bank your child’s blood, you’ll have the opportunity to use the harvested stem cells to save the life of your child or another member of your immediate family.
To learn more about the benefits of banking baby cord blood, click here.
There is some confusion regarding who can use the cord blood for treatment. This can heavily depend on the type of condition or disease in question. Many diseases, cancers, and certain genetic conditions can be treated successfully using cord blood from an immediate family member such as a sibling.
Many of the diseases treated with stem cells from cord blood are inherited genetic diseases. Usually, these treatments will require a donor transplant. Studies have shown that the use of stem cells from a family member were twice as successful compared to using cord blood from a donor.
Saving your child’s cord blood will give you access to stem cells that are a perfect genetic match.
There are some limits regarding what type of conditions cord blood can treat. As an example, cord blood cannot be used to treat certain types of genetic conditions because the cord blood stem cells would also carry it.
However, if someone in the immediate family needed a bone marrow transplant, the stored blood could be an effective treatment option.
Cord Blood Collection
During your third trimester you’ll fill out the correct paperwork from the cord blood bank, so the procedure will be ready to go immediately after you’ve delivered. A doctor or nurse will collect the blood, which will then be picked up by one of our courier’s. There are no health risks associated with this simple procedure.
If you choose not to save your infant’s cord blood it will be discarded immediately after delivery.
Your Family History
If you have a family history of certain types of genetic diseases, we strongly encourage you to bank your child’s cord blood. More and more families choose this option simply for peace of mind, but if you have a family history of cancer or genetic diseases, stored cord blood can be the best treatment option available for your family.
Unfortunately, the window of opportunity given to collect the blood is incredibly short. It must be collected within minutes after delivery, which is why you must make the decision to do so during your third trimester, so you can have all of the appropriate paperwork and the blood collection kit ready to go when it’s time to deliver.
Saving a Life
As we have mentioned, cord blood is currently used to treat up to eighty diseases including lymphoma, leukemia, and autoimmune diseases. However, ongoing research continues to make new discoveries in terms of more applications in which the cord blood can be used as an effective treatment option. This includes treatment for medical conditions such as diabetes, spinal cord injuries, strokes, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease.
In fact, the stem cells found in cord blood are considered much easier to match to a patient in need compared to bone marrow. But why?
With bone marrow donations, the bone marrow must be a perfect match, but it does not have to be a perfect match with cord blood. Because of this, doctors all over the world are now turning to cord blood as a more viable treatment option. Doctors also prefer to use cord blood over bone marrow donations because of its lower probability of GVHD, also known as graft versus host disease.
An Essential Medical Failsafe for the Family
If your family has a medical history of certain diseases or cancer, then your children’s likelihood of needing a stem cell transport at some point in their life significantly increases. Thanks to ongoing research, the list of diseases and conditions that can be successfully treated with cord blood continues to grow every year.
The stem cells found in cord blood have the ability to regrow, repair, or heal diseased or damaged cells not just for your child, but the entire immediate family. Whether you decide to save your baby’s cord blood to treat a sibling with a current ongoing health issue, or to protect your family’s medical health for the future, you have every reason to bank your infant’s cord blood. The promising future potential uses for cord blood treatment combined with the variety of conditions and diseases that are currently being treated make cord blood bank storage more important than ever before.