Cord blood banking might be one of the less popular terms that women hear during pregnancy. But what does it mean? While the procedure is not new, many still need to be made aware of its benefits. Still, cord blood banking can be the biggest reverence for your baby’s future that you should consider. Here’s what you need to know about it and why it’s essential:
What is cord blood banking?
Typically, cord blood banking refers to collecting and storing blood from the umbilical cord and placenta after a baby’s birth. The primary reason behind this is that cord blood contains immature stem cells that can develop into different body cells. In other words, this material can be stored and used to treat various diseases and conditions like leukemia, anemia, and immune system disorders.
What is the cord blood banking procedure?
While it may seem confusing and complex, cord blood banking is a simple, safe, and painless process that involves a few simple steps. In most cases, the doctor collects and stores the cord blood at the time of delivery. Consequently, the doctor clamps and cuts the umbilical cord without affecting the delivery or the mother’s or the baby’s health.
Storing the cord blood must be carefully discussed with the healthcare provider before delivery. After choosing a cord blood bank, the future mother must sign a consent form, agreeing to the terms and conditions. After collecting and transporting the material, the cord blood bank is stored in a cryogenic tank at a temperature of -196°C. It can be stored in this state for an indefinite period, and it is available for use if needed.
Public Cord Blood Banking vs. Private Cord Blood Banking
If you search for information online, you may find out that there are two main types of cord blood banking – public and private. In the former case, the cord blood bank will become available for anyone needing a stem cell transplant.
On the other hand, private cord blood banking will ensure the cord blood will be available only for the family who stored it. Of course, exclusivity comes at a higher price. Ultimately, you’d want to carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages of public cord blood banking vs. private cord blood banking.
Advantages and disadvantages of cord blood banking
As expected, there are some obvious advantages when it comes to private cord blood banking. However, its public alternative is generally more ethical, as cord blood is available for use by anyone in need.
Moreover, the chances of a family using their stored cord blood are relatively low. Still, keeping the material in a private bank allows families to access their stored cord blood if needed. Of course, such a service is often expensive and may not be covered by insurance.
Why cord blood banking is important
While many disregard cord blood banking as a necessary step, it can have a decisive impact in some severe conditions. Since the stem cells in the cord blood have transformative abilities, they can treat various diseases and conditions at any time in the future. Here are some of the most notable reasons to undergo cord blood banking procedures:
Potential treatment for particular diseases
Cord blood stem cells have been used to treat various diseases and conditions, including leukemia, anemia, and immune system disorders. If a family member is diagnosed with one of these conditions, accessing stored cord blood may provide a potential treatment option.
In some cases, cord blood stem cells can be used in an autologous transplant which is a transplant of stem cells back into the same individual from whom they were initially collected. This type of transplant may be an option for individuals with certain types of cancer, such as multiple myeloma or lymphoma.
Cord blood stem cells can also be used in an allogeneic transplant, a transplant of stem cells from one individual (the donor) to another (the recipient). Allogeneic transplants may be necessary for individuals who do not have a suitable donor for a bone marrow transplant.
Family history of certain conditions
Cord blood banking may be a good option for families with a history of certain diseases or conditions. In such a case, transplanting cord blood stem cells may help cure or stop the progress of the underlying issue.
It is important to note that the chances of a family using their stored cord blood are relatively low. Still, cord blood banking can provide a valuable resource for families if a stem cell transplant is necessary. Of course, you should discuss your options with your healthcare provider to determine if it is the right choice for your family.
If you are considering cord blood banking during pregnancy, it is essential to do your research before making a decision. Also, you must weigh the advantages and disadvantages of public and private cord blood banking. In this regard, discussing your options with your healthcare provider to choose what is best for you and your family is best.
Regardless of your choice, cord blood banking can be a valuable resource for families looking to invest in their future. Ultimately, the procedure will provide a potential source of stem cells that can treat various diseases and conditions.