Expecting parents do everything possible before birth to bring a healthy baby into the world. Vital components in cord blood from the birth process could potentially save their child’s life in the future. Parents owe it to themselves to learn about how cord blood could be the key to keeping their child healthy down the line.
What Is Cord Blood?
Cord blood remains in the umbilical cord once it’s clamped off and severed from the newborn. The most important component contained in cord blood are stem cells. These cells work as templates for every other cell in the body. That means they’re capable of being used to grow healthy cells needed in other areas affected by illness or injury.
Other cells that can be created include:
- Muscle cells
- Nerve cells
- Blood cells
- Organ tissue cells
Stem cells from cord blood lack the exposure to factors like disease or environmental changes that adult cells experience, making them a cleaner source. It’s also easier to obtain stem cells this way than from a live human.
Why Should I Store Cord Blood?
If your child develops a life-threatening disease, doctors could use the stem cells from the stored cord blood to grow other types of cells needed to combat it. Because the cells come directly from your child, there would already be a perfect source match available.
There’s ongoing research exploring the various ways stem cells could be used to treat illness. Doctors currently employ stem cells as part of the treatment process for disorders like:
- Sickle Cell Disease
- Various Anemias
- Metabolic Disorders
- Immune System Disorders
Scientists are also looking to treat ailments like Alzheimer’s disease, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injuries, and hearing loss with stem cells. Research like this is possible with a steady supply of stem cell sources like cord blood.
How Do I Store Cord Blood?
You have two options when it comes to storing cord blood. One option is donating to a public cord blood bank to be used as a source for research. You bear no costs when you give your cord blood to a public bank. All public banks function under the oversight of the Food And Drug Administration (FDA). They verify that facilities follow proper protocol when handling and preserving cord blood.
If you want a source of cord blood that’s available for direct use by your family, private banks exist to serve that purpose. The cost of private storage can run up to $2,000, plus any required yearly fees.
Once you’ve made your choice, you’ll be asked to provide maternal health information. After delivery, the umbilical cord is clamped, cut, cleaned, and cord blood is obtained. From there it’s processed according to the standards set by that facility.
Are There Risks In Cord Blood Storage?
Private banks are required to register with the FDA. Parents are encouraged to research a private bank’s history and reputation, looking for any history of mishandling or contaminating cord blood sources. Parents who opt for a private bank should continuously ask for records on how their cord blood is being used.
Cord blood is a vital resource for stem cells that many see as the key to finding therapies and even cures for all sorts of illness and injury. Preserving your baby’s cord blood could lead to a breakthrough that ends up saving their life or the lives of others.