What is cord blood? And why is cord blood banking important?
There's nothing more important than the health of our babies.
If you are an expectant parent thinking about storing your baby’s cord blood, here’s some information about what cord blood is and why cord blood banking is important.
A baby’s umbilical cord is cut right after childbirth. Once the umbilical cord is cut, some blood is left over in the placenta and in the attached umbilical cord. This placental blood is called umbilical ‘cord blood’.
Like the whole blood, cord blood important also contains plasma, platelets, red blood cells and white blood cells. But, most importantly, it is also a rich source of hematopoietic stem cells.
Medical research has proven that these stem cells found in cord blood has a huge potential in treating hematopoietic and genetic disorders. It is estimated that the stem cells in cord blood can cure about eighty diseases in blood, cardiovascular diseases, various forms of cancer and genetic disorders.
Cord blood banking and research has enabled the use of cord blood banking important as a substitute to bone marrow, which is the commonly used source of stem cells. Cord blood stem cells are much more primitive than bone marrow stem cells and this makes it more effective and adaptable in treating diseases.
The risk of graft versus host disease (GVHD) which occurs due to mismatching tissues between the donor and recipient is less while using cord blood. Moreover, the other advantages of cord blood stem cells over bone marrow stem cells are Collecting stem cells from umbilical cord is easier than having to do a surgery to collect them Bone marrow collection can be painful and a involves a small percentage of risk to the donor As what is cord blood is easily available, and can be stored using cord blood banking methods, more people can readily benefit from it.
- Cord blood stem cells can be transplanted to anyone while finding an exact matching bone marrow will be difficult.
- Cord blood stem cells are purer and reduce the risk of getting infected by certain viruses that may be present in bone marrow stem cells.
However, it is cord blood important to understand that even though many private cord blood banks advertise cord blood as a ‘wonder therapy’, this is a science which is still under research and treatment of many of the diseases are still under animal trial and no clinical trial in humans are carried out.
If there is no family history of specific genetic diseases, it is more advisable to donate your baby’s cord blood to a public cord blood bank for use of public (which might include any of your relative’s also) in future, rather than spending on preserving it in a private cord blood bank.
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