The umbilical cord helps to keep the fetus alive and healthy during pregnancy. After birth, this cord is typically cut and discarded. More and more parents are electing to save the blood from the umbilical cord, known as cord blood.
Cord blood banking refers to the collection and storage of the blood produced by the umbilical cord. This blood is rich in stem cells, and thus has many different medical uses. Some of the issues that cord blood stem cells have been used to treat include:
Sickle cell anemia
Cord blood banking is useful mostly for future treatment of the baby from which they were drawn. That’s because the blood and stem cells will be a 100% match for the child from which they were taken. Cord blood may also be effective when used to treat a sibling of the child the blood was taken from.
How does Cord Blood Banking Work?
In order for the cord blood to maintain its usefulness, it must be stored immediately after childbirth. The process for cord blood banking:
Childbirth occurs as normal.
After the umbilical cord is cut, it is clamped to preserve the blood within.
This blood is drained in to a special collection bag, itself a small part of a larger collection kit.
This blood is stored at a precise temperature in a special container.
This container is shipped to a blood bank, which stores the cord blood for future use.
The terms of the blood bank agreement will vary depending on which company or organization is used. This is also true of cord blood banking cost.