6 Guidelines of Cord Blood Banking
Cord blood banks specialize in the storing of blood taken from the umbilical cord during childbirth. The benefits of storing cord blood are considerable, both for the newborn and their immediate family members.
Research has shown that a range of medical conditions can be treated using cord blood, including genetic disorders and various types of cancer.
1. Stem cells
Cord blood is so valuable because it contains stem cells. Due to the fact that these cells are so young, they are capable of renewing themselves when transplanted into a child or young person at a later date.
Stem cells can help in the replacement of damaged blood cells, or assist in strengthening someone’s immune system if it has been weakened. This can help in the recovery of patients from a number of medical conditions.
Cord blood is especially effective in treating children. Adults can also benefit, although they generally require larger quantities of cord blood. The main areas of treatment it can help with are blood-related diseases.
2. Helping your child
If you are an expecting parent, the decision to have your child’s cord blood collected on the day of their birth could have major consequences. If your child develops a medical condition later in life that requires a stem cell transplant, the availability of their newborn blood can make the treatment process more effective.
The arrangement of treatments involving cord blood will be carried out by your doctor. They will refer you to the medical specialists who will be able to support and advise you throughout the process, as well as perform the treatment required.
3. Helping siblings
Other members of your family could also receive medical benefits. Full siblings will have a genetic similarity with your newborn, meaning they can more easily be treated with their brother or sister’s cord blood.
Another benefit of using cord blood in treatment is that it appears to be less likely to be rejected than bone marrow transplants. In particular, researchers have found that people are less likely to have immune system complications when cord blood is used compared to when bone marrow is transplanted.
4. Treating cancers
If your child has leukaemia or other types of cancer, the availability of their cord blood or the blood of a sibling can be used for treatment. A cord blood transplant, involving the injecting of the cord blood into their blood stream, may be recommended by a physician.
The stem cells contained in the cord blood can help reconstruct cells damaged by the cancer in the body, assisting your child or relative to fight leukaemia.
5. How is cord blood collected?
The closed technique used for collecting cord blood is similar to the method used in collecting blood generally. The medical professional inserts a needle into the vein of the umbilical cord after it has been severed. Typically, around 75 millilitres of cord blood can be obtained using this method.
The blood will be stored in a sealed bag and transported by a medical courier to a storage facility. The cord blood is then cryopreserved and stored in a blood bank for future use.
6. Keeping cord blood safe in storage
Should you decide to collect blood from the umbilical cord of your newborn child, a blood bank will store it until it is required. There are a wide range of such providers.
Blood banks are regulated to ensure they meet safe medical standards of collection and storage. This is critical to avoid contamination and make sure the blood can be preserved for a long period of time.
Regulations on the use of cord blood can vary, for example depending on whether it is being used to treat the person it was taken from, or a family member or relative. Doctors will be able to advise you on this.