In the medical field, newly discovered knowledge is inevitably emerging through research. Certain things that were considered medical waste in the past are now considered beneficial and worth saving for future use. The cord blood, which remains in the umbilical cord that serves as the lifeline between the child and the mother, is among them.
In the past, cord blood was considered a medical waste after childbirth. It was not until 1994 did it was proposed that cord blood can be an excellent alternative source of stem cells and can be transplanted to regenerate one’s immune system and blood cells. At present, cord blood is collected and can be stored through cord blood banking.
What makes the cord blood so valuable is that it contains stem cells. Stem cells are immature cells which can potentially develop into many different types of cells. Depending on its application, stem cells often give second chances to people who have serious illnesses by helping their bodies create healthier living cells.
What is Cord Blood Banking
Cord Blood Banking is the method or the process of collecting and extracting the cord blood on your newly born child’s freshly cut and clamped umbilical cord. The extracted cord blood contains hematopoietic stem cells that can replenish all the other blood cells, including the red and white cells and the immune system’s platelets.
The collected blood is then sealed in a bag, frozen, and secured in either private or public cord blood banks, depending on your choice for future medical use. If you don’t want your child’s stem cells to go to waste, you should adequately weigh which type and company of cord blood bank you should trust:
Private Cord Blood Bank
This type of cord blood bank is intended for your family use. It is also the most secure type of blood bank because only you, as parents, can decide about how and when the stored stem cells are to be used. This type of cord blood bank is suitable for those who have family members that have a genetic disease, treatable by stem cell transplant.
Most parents also opt for the private cord blood bank for their child’s health insurance. We can’t foresee what would happen in the future, so it is wise to be prepared. This cord blood bank might be costly because you may have to pay for annual storage fees, but the assurance of your child’s stem cell safe-keeping for future use would urge you to give a go.
Public Cord Blood Bank
When you opt for the public cord blood bank, your child’s stem cells are stored as donations for public use. By donating, you can save other lives—especially those who have blood diseases. It is free. However, you will lose all your rights to your child’s cord blood, and you won’t be able to reclaim it even if your family might need it in the future.
The Life-Saving Benefits
Stem cells, which can be found and extracted from umbilical cord blood, can renew and develop themselves into other cell types, including blood cells, brain cells, and muscle cells. These stem cells help treat various blood diseases and immune system disorders such as the following:
Aplastic Anemia is a commonly known bone marrow disease that occurs when your bone marrow fails to make blood cells. These blood cells include red blood cells that carry oxygen to the body’s tissues, platelets that control or prevent bleeding, and white blood cells that fight the bacterial infection.
When Aplastic Anemia becomes severe, the only possible way to treat it is through stem cell transplant that replaces the unhealthy bone marrow with healthy stem cells donated by a family member or an unrelated donor of umbilical cord blood.
There are three different types of blood cancers, but each occurs because of abnormal blood cells growing out of control and interrupting normal blood cells’ function. People usually use chemotherapy and radiation therapy to stop the growth of cancer cells in the body.
However, chemotherapy and radiation do kill not only cancer cells but also kill healthy bone marrow. As a treatment, people settle with stem cell transplants as it restores the bone marrow’s ability to produce healthy blood cells.
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 Diabetes is a condition in which our body’s pancreas fails to produce insulin, which controls glucose or blood sugar levels. It usually develops during a young age, and the only key to managing it is by stabilizing insulin levels.
Unfortunately, Type 1 Diabetes does not yet have a cure. Still, some clinical trials claim that cord blood stem cells, used in re-creating the insulin-producing islets in the pancreas, leads to the patient not needing insulin injections for years.
Having background information about cord blood banking and knowing how beneficial preserving stem cells will help you decide which type of cord blood bank to choose in preserving your infant’s stem cells. Whether you store it for your family’s future use or donate it to help save other people’s lives, it is still better to seek professional advice first before deciding.