When we say cord blood banking, we basically talk about the process of collecting stem cells that are left in the cord blood of a newborn baby. These stem cells can potentially save lives. To break it down, let us start with the basics.
You see, when a baby is born, a small amount of blood can safely be collected from the umbilical cord and placenta. This blood is called cord blood. When the cord is cut and clamped, the remaining stem-cell-rich blood can be collected and sent to a cord blood bank and brought into a deep freeze.
Cord Blood Saves Lives
Cord blood is very important because of its stem cells. These stem cells are pristine immature cells that can be used to treat several diseases like immune system disorders, anemia, lymphoma, leukemia, and sickle cell disease. If the parents allow it, cord blood is often stored for future uses in a Cord blood bank.
Accordingly, there are also a number of conditions that can be treated by the stem cells like autism, cerebral palsy, Alzheimer’s disease, premature ageing and more. There are also studies looking into cord blood for treatment of loss of hearing and congenital heart disease. And to think that this is just the beginning, they are still discovering other potentials of this powerful cord blood.
Reasons For Banking Cord Blood
The question now is to bank or not to bank your baby’s cord blood? If you are new to this idea you may think it is kind of weird. But the fact is, cord blood banking has already been healing in new ways for over 30 years now. There have already been a number of studies on the use of cord blood as treatment of a number of diseases.
In fact, others even opt to bank the cord blood just in case their child develops some kind of illness even if they have no history of any grave diseases in their family. However, there are also some people who choose to bank cord blood in public banks for humanitarian reasons. They donate it so that others may use it to treat other people’s illnesses.
Private vs. Public Banks For Cord Blood
If you are deciding to save your child’s cord blood in a bank, it is a must that you initially make arrangements about this ahead of time. You would need a period of at least two months before the delivery date.
It is because there are documents that need to be prepared as well as preparing the facility which should be ready before the cord blood is delivered, frozen and stored. The next step is choosing your bank. Will you go for a private or a public cord blood bank?
Private banking may be the right choice if you have a family member with genetic disease. If you save the cord blood of your baby, there is a possibility that it will be a better match for a family member than coming from other cord blood. With private cord banking you have your own stored stem cell available whenever you need it. So, if you save those stem cells now, it means you and your family will have access to these incredible cord blood for future use.
Of course this would mean paying for the costs of the process. This varies depending on the bank though. But usually, you will have to pay for the initial collection of the blood and then there will be annual fees after that.
Although this may cost you a lot, it is basically up to you if you want to save your baby’s cord blood or not, and ask yourself if this “health insurance” will be beneficial for you and your family. If you will take the next step, look for a way to cut down your costs by looking for some banks that offer free or discounted programs. Some banks have this if you have a family member like a parent or sibling, which has a disease treatable by stem cell.
On the other hand, with a Public bank, cord blood is donated. You can bring it to a public cord bank for free but this will be stored for future use by anybody who will need it like people who need a transplant. The parents sign away all rights to it and the public bank will be the owner of the cord blood. Sometimes it is also used for medical research.
Cord blood banking is not participated by some hospitals. If that is the case, you may have to look in the registry for a public cord blood bank that will give you other options. But remember that not every donation is accepted.
If you are a healthy parent that will deliver a single child, you are eligible. But mothers who will deliver twins or triplets are most likely not going to be accepted. There are other reasons why one is not eligible. That is why it is best if you check your chosen cord blood public bank’s requirements first.
What To Remember With Cord Blood Banking
Although many consider cord blood as the best treatment option, it is very rare to find a perfect match banked cord blood for an illness. So, there is no guarantee that you will get a great match but you really never know, at least you are doing your best. Make several researches first before you make your final decision.
Remember to make sure if the baby whom you will be getting cord blood from is not born with a genetic disorder, because it cannot be used to treat the illness of the other family member which has the same cord that caused the same problem.
For whatever reason you choose cord blood banking you know that you can save a life. Though many say that the chance of a perfect match is very slim, we do not give up. With cord blood banking we are still finding options to save other people’s lives.