Cord Blood banking: things you need to know

cord blood banking

Cord blood banking: things you need to know

What is Cord blood banking?

The blood in your baby’s umbilical cord contains stem cells that can grow into blood vessels, organs and tissues. Collecting this blood left in the umbilical cord of the newborn and placenta and storing it for later medical uses is known as Cord Blood Banking or Umbilical cord blood banking.

Why is Cord blood banking useful?

FDA-regulated clinical trials are ongoing to explore their role and viability in helping those with autism, brain injury and other such conditions.

When storing the cord blood you have two options –

  • Public cord blood banking

You can donate it to the public cord blood bank to be of use to anyone who needs it.

  • Family cord blood banking

You can pay and store it in a family cord blood bank for the family’s use.

Right after the birth of your baby, the umbilical cord is clamped; blood is drawn from it through a needle and bagged. This blood is then sent to the bank to be tested, processed and cryopreserved (preservation by controlled freezing) if it meets the quality standard requirements.

The benefits of cord blood banking are many:

  • As it is rich in stem cells which have the ability to develop into different types of cells, they can be used in the repair of tissues, organs and blood vessels
  • Stem cells being the building blocks of immunity can be used to treat a host of diseases
  • For patients suffering from leukemia, if chemotherapy fails as a treatment or the disease recurs, doctors often do a stem cell transplant
  • Cord blood is also used to treat rare metabolic disorders which could be fatal to the infants
  • Studies are on now to see its viability in treating Cerebral palsy, autism, hydrocephalus, type 1 diabetes, etc.

Diseases that are being treated using cord blood today.

Mentioned here are some of the medical conditions which today are being treated using cord stem cell banking:

  1. Leukemia – Leukemia is a type of malignancy affecting the blood immune system. There are different kinds of leukemias categorised based on the source of origin and stage of the cancer. Stem cell transplants are now being used to treat all stages of leukemia, including chronic leukemia.
  2. Lymphoma –This is a form of blood cancer which affect the leukocyte cells that circulate in the blood and lymph nodes. There can be two different kinds of lymphomas namely, Hodgkin and non Hodgkin and both of these are now being treated using stem cell transplants.
  3. Other blood related disorders – These include anaemia, sickle cell anaemia, Thalassemia major, severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) condition, red cell aplasia, multiple myeloma, plasma cell leukemia etc.
  4. Genetic or inherited disorders of the immune system– These include hurler syndrome, Osteoporosis, hunter syndrome, ALD, Lesch Nyhan syndrome, among many others.
  5. Cord blood banking is used for tumors including neuroblastoma, retinoblastoma and medulloblastoma.

Is removal of Cord blood risky for my baby?

A lot of people want to know if their baby is at risk during the procedure of extracting cord blood. The answer to this is a big no! After the umbilical cord is cut the doctor proceeds to extract stem cells. Your baby is in no danger from cord blood banking.

Does storing cord blood take cells away from my baby?

Answer to this is also “No”. Cord blood is collected after the cord has been clamped. Your baby will not experience anything different than they would during a regular birth process.

Read more on the subject of cord blood banking here.