Keeping the cord blood from your birth can prove to be very beneficial for families or those in need. The uses of cord blood include helping with transplants or family diseases.
Collecting cord blood is often a choice made during the pregnancy. Science shows cord blood can be stored for over 22 years and still functions as expected. Depending on how it is stored, it could possibly last indefinitely.
If you’re still unsure about whether you want to collect the cord blood, perhaps the below information will shed some light on your decision.
1. What is Cord Blood?
Cord blood is the remaining blood in the placenta and portions of the umbilical cord after a baby is born. The blood is called placental blood or umbilical cord blood, which is where the term “cord blood” comes from.
The baby no longer needs this blood, and therefore, it can be saved or used for future family use or donated to help research or someone in need. Cord blood contains normal elements in the blood such as red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and plasma.
Cord blood is also rich in hematopoietic, which is blood-forming stem cells. These blood-forming blood cells are similar to the cells found in bone marrow.
2. Why Should You Have Cord Blood Collected?
Cord blood is routinely collected to be used to treat more than 80 diseases and can help give someone a second chance at life. While usually saved for the family because the stem cells match the genetics of the family, cord blood can be transferred to someone else or donated to a public blood bank.
If you have a history of disease in your family, it is often suggested to collect the cord blood from your childbirth so it can be used to treat your family disease if it appears in you or your children in the future.
3. How is Cord Blood Used?
Two popular uses for cord blood is for transplants. The two types of transplants are autologous transplants and allogenic transplants. Autologous transplants happen when a stem cell transplant happens using an individual’s own stem cells.
Allogenic transplant is when stem cells are donated from one person to another and then transplanted into the other person. If it is your family member who will be receiving the transplant, they are known as a ‘related donor.’ If they are someone outside the family, they are known as an ‘unrelated donor.’
4. Where is Cord Blood Collected?
Usually, cord blood is collected at a private family blood bank or a public blood bank. If your family chooses to save the cord blood at a private bank, you will have access to the blood at any time. If you choose a public blood bank, you will be donating the blood to be used by anyone in need or for medical research.
Most families choose to go the private route for storing the cord blood, especially if they have a history of health problems in their family tree. If you choose to do nothing with the cord blood, it will be thrown away.
5. What are the Rewards?
Cord blood is easy to collect with no risk to the baby or mother at the time of collection. It can be frozen and is immediately available for use when needed. There is little waiting time when the time comes to use the blood. And unlike embryonic stem cells, there are no ethical or religious concerns associated with using cord blood.
Cord blood is a great option for families looking to protect their health or someone looking to help another in need. Consider saving your baby’s cord blood to help you or someone else in the future.