What is Cord Blood Banking?
Cord blood banking is something that you may have heard of but don’t know much about.
You may have even seen materials about the subject at your doctor’s office during your last visit. Knowing what cord blood banking is, who it benefits, and how it is done helps ease your concerns and shape your decision to bank your cord blood after giving birth.
The following information helps educate and empower you as a mother and member of your family. Once you have all the facts that you need about the procedure, you’ll be able to determine whether it’s the right decision for you.
Cord Blood, the Umbilical Cord, and You
When giving birth, there is extra blood in the baby’s umbilical cord. There is also placenta available after the doctor has cut the cord. The extra blood isn’t needed by the newborn child, but it is by people who are sick or may fall ill in the future. Therefore, cord blood saves lives!
Why Banking the Umbilical Cord Blood is Necessary
Like other types of blood donations, cord blood contains red and white blood cells, platelets, and plasma. What makes it special is that it also has hematopoietic stem cells similar to those found in bone marrow. The stem cells are used to treat many different diseases.
A bone marrow transplant is often very painful. Cord blood banking is not.
It is done immediately after a woman has given birth. The cord is clamped to keep blood from flowing out too quickly.
The blood is frozen and stored for later use. When cord blood is gathered correctly, it lasts forever which is great news for people with heart birth defects, cerebral palsy, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and autism. Medical researchers continue to learn more about these diseases each day.
Cord blood is used to treat cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma, sickle cell disease, anemia, and a wide range of immune system disorders, too. It’s something that the body produces during pregnancy and has lifesaving properties when banked. Cancer patients have been known to produce new blood cells thanks to the cord blood stem cells they receive.
The Final Decision is Yours
Cord blood banking varies in price. Some hospitals provide the lifesaving service for free. Private banks around the United States exist, too, if you’d prefer to use one of them.
Currently, there are about 30 options to choose from. In deciding which private bank to go with, you should make sure that it is registered with the FDA and accredited by the AABB (American Association of Blood Banks). That way, you know it’s being collected and stored correctly not wasted.
The likelihood of your own child needing their cord blood is slim. The odds are 1 in 2,700 to 1 in 20,000 according to current estimations. Having the opportunity to save a life by bringing a life into the world is incredibly powerful.
Making the decision to bank your umbilical cord blood is personal.
It’s a choice that only you can make. If you’re interested in the procedure and want to know more about it, consulting your healthcare practitioner while pregnant is the best way to get reliable, up-to-date information about the subject.
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