Things That You Need To Know Before Cord Blood Banking

Cord blood banking has revolutionized the medical world. Cord blood is very beneficial, especially for children, and many families have decided to bank this blood to safeguard their children’s future before they are even born. Choosing on whether to bank your umbilical cord blood as you await your baby’s arrival is one of the tough decisions that you may need to make as a family.

What makes it more difficult is the lack of enough information to base your decision upon. Below is a list of what you need to know about cord blood banking.

1. What it entails

The blood present in your child’s umbilical cord has stem cells, which can grow into any type of immune or blood cell that they are manipulated to be. The banking of these cells occurs during your birthing process. A few minutes after you have delivered your baby, your umbilical cord blood will be harvested painlessly and fast.

This is done after your cord is clamped on either side, before or after you deliver your placenta. A needle is injected into the umbilical cord where it collects and drains the blood into a gravity bag. A needle and syringe can be used, too, and this is faster. In case your baby contracts any conditions in the future, including leukemia, sickle-cell anemia, and other rare diseases, these stem cells can be used in treating them.

The stored cord blood can also be used to treat any of your other children too. Currently, the stem cells can treat some rare metabolic, immune and blood diseases

2. The power of blood stem cells

Before stem cells in blood were discovered, conditions like leukemia could only be treated by a bone marrow transplant. This exposed the patients to higher risks of blood infections, along with the rejection of the transplant by their body’s immune system. Therefore blood stem cells provide a safer alternative, but only work for kids. This is amazing because children are more prone to developing complications because their immune systems are not yet strong enough.

3. Conditions that are treatable through stem cell transplants

Presently, stem cells are able to treat five different conditions successfully. These conditions are bone marrow failure, blood cancers, immunodeficiencies, generic blood disorders, as well as genetic metabolic disorders. It is challenging to predict whether your child could suffer from these illnesses.

Currently, various clinical trials are underway to determine how many more diseases and disorders could be treated using stem cells from the umbilical cord.

4. How long can cord blood last

Stem cells from the cord blood remain viable for quite long. They stay in the same condition they were frozen in even after over 20 years of storage. Therefore, scientists say that with the right storage method and proper freezing, you could preserve the cells for several decades or indefinitely.

5. What is your option

You currently have two options when it comes to cord blood banking which is, private banking and public donation. When you choose public banking, your baby’s cord blood will go to a bank where it will be stored to be used by anyone in need of a transplant, or for medical research. Once you donate this blood, you give up any rights to it as the child’s parent, and the bank now owns this blood.
Therefore, you are not guaranteed its availability, in case you and your family need it in the future. This donation is free.

On the other hand, you will need to pay to have your child’s blood banked privately. The advantage here is that the blood will be there for the child, their siblings, and even the parents when they need it. Here, you own the rights to the blood; therefore, you are responsible for making any critical choices on how it should be used.

The costs vary with each bank but are relatively expensive. Apart from the initial storage cost, you will pay an annual storage fee for maintenance.

There is no simple answer on whether you should bank your child’s umbilical cord blood or not. However, with this information, you are in a position to make a decision that will safeguard your family’s future.