Why save baby’s cord blood? The purpose of writing this article is to instill the awareness about baby’s cord blood and why most parents begin to go for it. This is a life saving measure especially for high risk group! For those expecting new parents who are having a family history of blood or auto- immune diseases, this is the right article for you.
Have you ever heard of baby’s cord blood and what does it do about your baby’s future health? Thinking about what will happen if your child get sick with serious illness like leukemia and yet there is no cure for it? yeah, right. I am writing this article about why save baby’s cord blood and what advantages of cord blood banking.
Baby’s Cord blood
Umbilical cord blood collected at birth contains heamatopoietic stem cells, These cells are similar to those found in bone marrow which can be used to generate new red blood cells and cells of immune system. They are the most primitive form of stem cells and only can be collected once in a lifetime opportunity which is during the time of the birth.
Cord blood cells are currently used to treat more than nearly 80 types of diseases such as leukemia, anemia and auto-immune disease especially in children who undergo chemotherapy (in treatment of cancer). These cells are able to reproduce themselves and turn into other type of human cells. Those children who undergo treatment of cancer such as chemotherapy and radiation, will replenish the blood with healthy cells that improve their recovery.
Cord blood cell are collected from the umbilical cord during the delivery of the newborn baby, to be save in the cord blood bank for later use. In other words, saving baby’s cord blood is an another kind of insurance investment, more and more parents are beginning to turn to cord blood bank as a life saving measure to protect their loved ones.
Those parents who have family history of blood disease and auto-immune disease, the risk of their baby getting the similar disease is much higher. CORD BLOOD can save lives.
How is cord blood collected and saved?
In fact, the decision to have your baby’s cord blood to be collected and saved must be done before the delivery as there are arrangement to be made before the cord blood can be collected and saved.
Once you have decided which cord blood bank and find out all the details you need, there will be a special kit to be handed to you before the time of delivery. You will be handed in to the doctor and once finished, your bank’s logistics team will pick up the blood bag and transport it to the facility where your stem cells are separated and stored.
Here are the summary of the procedure how the stem cells are collected, processed and stored.
- After the delivery, the doctor will clamp the umbilical cord, to separate the cord and the baby.
- A needle will be inserted to collect the blood before the placenta is detached from the mother.
- The blood will flow into the collection bag.
- The collection bag will be transported and processed according to the bank’s procedure.
- After collection of stem cells, these cells samples will be stored in a cryobags.
- The cryobags will be checked and stored in the vapor phase liquid nitrogen storage tank about -190 degree. (cryopreservation method)
According to the doctor, collection of blood is more when you choose to have vaginal delivery. Less cord blood is collected if delivery via C-section.
Why save baby’s cord blood?
There are number of reasons why most parent nowadays are getting into it. In some studies, another type of cell has been discovered called mesenchymal stem cells found rich in soft connective tissue in the umbilical cord has ability to promote cell growth and differentiate into various specialized cell in treatment of heart disease, diabetes etc. It is a great medical potential as scope of disease can be expanded to wider scope in future.
Let us look at the advantages and the disadvantages of saving baby’s cord blood.
Advantages of cord blood banking
1. Baby’s cord blood contain same type of haematopoietic stem cells as bone marrow but baby’s cord blood stem cells are more primitive in nature. Therefore, the recipient is unlikely to reject them and develop Graft Versus Host Disease (GVHD) after the transplant.
2.Taking baby’s cord blood is simple and will not cause complication to the delivery of the baby. The collection of bone marrow can be painful and lead to complication.
3.The stem cells can be used by other siblings and close relatives as well.
4. The stem cells from a baby are more robust than those of an adult.
5. It is really a life saving measure if a family has a history of leukemia, sickle cell anemia, thalassaemia and other blood related disease.
- As what we know the umbilical cord blood is 100% biological match to the child. If the child has certain genetic diseases, the cord blood collected will have identical genetic flaws that can cause the disease in the recipient.
- The private cord blood bank can be expensive, with high initial processing fee and annual storage fee commitment.
- The amount of stem cells collected is only able to used to treat the child related disease, which may not have sufficient amount to treat the adults.
- This is like a kind of insurance investment. Some may invest in it for years and may not be using it at the end.
- The risk of contamination to your stem cells during improper handling.
This is a matter of personal choice whether to have your baby’s cord blood collected and saved. In order to make such decision, you may contact the cord blood bank representative and find out more information related to their company facility and procedure.
Making the best decision can be difficult by looking at both the advantages and the disadvantages of cord blood banking. What I want to highlight again in this conclusion is if you have a family history of blood related disease, baby’s cord blood can be a worthy consideration.
Share with us your experience about saving baby’s cord blood, drop us a comment in the comment box below. We love to hear from you.