As a pregnancy winds down and impending parenthood draws closer, prospective parents are faced with many decisions. In modern society, one of those decisions may be whether or not to save the baby’s cord blood.
Cord blood banking is a modern practice that is ultimately up to the parents of each newborn to consent to or decline. Here is a quick guide to help get you up to speed.
What Is Cord Blood?
Cord blood refers to the blood that is taken from the umbilical cord and the placenta of a baby right after he or she is born. This part used to be thrown out as ‘medical waste’ but medical research has determined that it contains stem cells that may be valuable for later use.
How Do You Extract Cord Blood?
It’s normal for a parent to cringe when they hear of blood being drawn from their baby, but the baby doesn’t feel any pain at all. Just as cutting the cord doesn’t cause any pain, drawing blood from it s also painless.
After it is clamped, a needle is inserted into one of the umbilical cord veins and the blood is extracted. The process takes no more than a couple of minutes.
What Is Cord Blood Banking?
Cord blood banking refers to freezing the cord blood stem cells and storing it for possible use in the future. Parents will typically have the choice of either donating the cord blood for public use, or storing it in a private cord bank for family use.
When you donate your baby’s cord blood, t doesn’t cost you anything to store it and it will help patients who are in need of a donor. It’s estimated that up to 70 percent of patients won’t have a matching donor in their own family. It’s also true that different ethnic groups benefit greatly from cord blood donations because blood from the umbilical cord doesn’t have to be matched quite as precisely as blood from adult donors. Basically, if you want to help it doesn’t cost you anything and doesn’t hurt your baby in any way.
If you want to bank the cord blood privately, you will pay a private bank to freeze and bank the blood for you. This blood will remain in the bank and only be used if the baby or a close relative needs it. The stem cells from cord blood can help other cells to regenerate themselves and are valuable for treating many different conditions. The most exciting part of banking is that new uses and treatments are being researched all the time, so banked cord blood may be especially useful in the future.
This post is brought to you by Debra Lawrence, a single mother residing in Toronto, Canada. When it came to her decision to donate her baby’s cord blood, she looked to Cells For Life. They specialize in cord blood banking and research.