Umbilical Stem Cell Banking, also known as Cord Blood Collection, is a once in a lifetime opportunity to store your infant’s cord blood for potential future medical needs. This procedure is available immediately following birth and involves the removal of blood, and resulting stem cells, from the umbilical cord. In the normal birthing process, without selecting to store the blood, the umbilical cord is disposed of as medical waste.
Stem cells are the building blocks of the body’s blood and immune systems. They are able to change into other types of cells thereby enabling them to treat, repair and cure damaged cells. Stem cells have been successful in treating radiation and chemotherapy damage. There are currently over forty diseases which are considered treatable by stem cells. These include types of Cancers, Immunodeficiences, Bone Marrow issues and Blood Disorders along with some Metabolic Disorders. Research is constantly adding to the list of treatable illnesses. Some diseases currently being researched include Diabetes, Heart Disease, Parkinson’s and additional Cancers. Umbilical cord blood is considered a strong source of stem cells. The first successful cord blood stem cell transplant was completed in 1988. The procedure became widely available to the general public by 1995.
Collecting your child’s cord blood is a safe, quick procedure. The collection takes place immediately after birth. The umbilical cord is cut and clamped and the blood is drawn directly from the cord. This is a painless procedure for both mother and infant and does not interfere with the birthing experience.
The options for saving the cord blood include private banking and public donation. Private banking saves the cord blood exclusively for the use of you, your family or anyone you deem as a recipient. This potentially allows for a closer match, if the blood is ever needed for a family member, than going to a public bank. Donated cord blood is sent to a public bank and your specific blood can not be requested in the future. It becomes part of a large database of blood available for use by anyone searching for a donor.
This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to save, or donate, your child’s cord blood. Family history, medical uses and banking options should be discussed with your child’s doctor, or other qualified medical personnel, prior to making this important decision.