There was a time when people used to believe that umbilical cord blood was nothing but just waste. However, this outlook shifted when a groundbreaking cord blood stem cell transplant went successful in 1988 for an individual with Fanconi anemia, a genetic and life-threatening type of Anaemia. This medical feat took place in Paris, France, and gave hope to many people suffering from similar conditions. Ever since medical sciences have been continuously studying the potential benefits of using umbilical cord blood for transplantation in other medical conditions. Banking is one of the most common options for storing umbilical cord blood. But it has its own pros and cons you must consider as a concerned parent.
By banking cord blood, you are safeguarding potentially lifesaving stem cells from the umbilical cord and placenta to use them at a later point in time. Stem cells possess an unparalleled ability to transform into other types of cells.
As parents, there are many considerations to make for the well-being of our children. One of these is the use and preservation of their umbilical cord blood (which attaches to a baby in utero). It was traditionally discarded at birth but now can be stored for potential health benefits in later years - should you do it?
Focusing on the brighter picture first, here are some of the major advantages of storing cord blood.
Banking umbilical cord blood could provide a viable alternative treatment option in many situations where traditional treatments are not suitable or available. As per research, stem cells found in umbilical cord blood can regenerate tissue and act as a bridge between different types of cells, making them potentially useful for treating certain immune-related disorders or cancers. Cord blood can be really effective for family members who may need it later.
Banking cord blood is a potentially life-saving resource for your family and a valuable contribution to the global stem cell registry. When preserving umbilical cord blood, parents can store their baby’s cells in either public or private banks. This can be beneficial if there is a known history of certain conditions in the family that may require stem cell treatments throughout their lifetime.
The procedure of banking cord blood poses very little risk to the mother and her child as no needles are involved, and no tissue is extracted from either the mother or baby. The cord blood banking process has proven safe, efficient, and reliable. The cells can be used if a medical need arises in the future or can even be donated to help others in need of life-saving treatments such as stem cell transplants.
Preserving cord blood also provides parents with peace of mind knowing that they have taken an important step toward ensuring their child’s health and well-being. It also gives them a chance to save a potentially life-saving resource that could one day be used by their own child or other families.
The use of cord blood is not limited to the patient from whom it was collected; it is possible to collect cord blood from one individual and use it as a stem cell source for someone related to that individual. This is known as cord blood transplantation, and it has been used to successfully treat many serious medical conditions, including leukemia, lymphoma, metabolic diseases, and some types of immune deficiency.
It provides families with a potential source of stem cells that could be used to treat a variety of medical conditions. It also allows them to take proactive steps towards preserving their children’s health and well-being in the event of a future need. Parents can provide their family members with an insurance policy against potential future medical needs.
Stem cell research is an area that is continually advancing, which means there may be new treatments or applications for these cells in the future. By banking umbilical cord blood now, you'll ensure you have access to any potential breakthroughs down the line.
Unfortunately, there are some drawbacks associated with cord blood banking:
You can store it in public banks for free, however, storing cord blood in a private bank will cost you hugely. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, collecting, testing, and registering cord blood can cost between $1,350 and $2,350. In addition to these initial fees, you will also be required to pay annual storage and maintenance costs which range from $100-175. Remember that some insurance plans may cover maternal testing for infections such as hepatitis or HIV, so it's worth checking with your provider before signing up for any services.
Private blood banks follow all the appropriate measures to preserve your cord blood. However, this may not be possible in the case of public banks. Since cord blood in public banks is collected from anonymous donors, there is a greater risk of contamination. Although most storage facilities take the necessary precautions to reduce this risk as much as possible, there is still a chance that some contaminants could remain.
Cord blood has not been proven effective for many common diseases or disorders, such as diabetes or cancer. Therefore, it may not always be available if your child needs it. Stem cell treatments are still relatively new, and the technology is constantly changing and developing, so you can’t guarantee that it will provide any benefit in the future.
The only sure way to ensure your family’s access to potentially life-saving medical treatments is to store your baby’s cord blood in a private bank. This way, you can have peace of mind knowing that you have taken an important step towards ensuring your child’s health and well-being.
Although it is possible to use cord blood from a donor, there is a chance that the cells may be rejected or attacked by the recipient’s immune system. This is because stem cells and red blood cells are very different in terms of their genetic makeup, and antibodies in the recipient’s body can cause them to reject foreign tissues.
Storing your child’s cord blood should not replace other important safety measures such as regular health checkups, immunizations, and healthy lifestyle choices. These steps will help ensure your child remains healthy throughout their life regardless of whether they ever need to use their stored cord blood.
As parents become more aware of cord blood banking, they are increasingly inclined toward the advantages of cord blood storage and transfusion. Cord blood is a rich source of stem cells that help regenerate damaged tissues and organs or replace cells destroyed by diseases like Leukemia and Lymphoma.
According to the Save the cord foundation, cord blood stem cells have been in use to treat more than 80 diseases. Many studies on the effects of stem cells are underway. Additionally, cord blood contains certain proteins and growth factors that can benefit various medical treatments.
Cord blood stem cells also have the potential to be used in regenerative treatments like gene therapy, which involve replacing defective genes in patients with functional ones from healthy donors. Such an advancement would make it possible to treat conditions such as sickle cell anemia and cystic fibrosis which are currently incurable.
However, the full potential of cord blood is yet to be explored, but the possibilities that this source of stem cells offers are encouraging. As more research is being done in the field, patients can expect revolutionary developments in medical treatment in the coming years. All this makes cord blood storage a viable health insurance option for parents looking to secure their child's health and well-being. But it has its certain advantages and disadvantages. Let’s discuss what cord banking is and some common and prominent pros and cons.
Cord blood is typically obtained under sterile conditions in a hospital setting. The cord blood is collected by the obstetrician-gynecologist (ob-gyn) or another medical professional immediately after the baby is born and the placenta has been delivered.
The umbilical cord is clamped, cut, and placed in a collection bag. The collection process takes only a few minutes and poses no risk to the mother or baby. After collection, the cord blood sample is sent to a licensed laboratory for processing and storage.
The lab tests the sample to ensure it meets quality standards before freezing it for long-term storage. Once stored, cord blood can be used for transplantation if medically necessary.
There are two storage facilities where umbilical cord blood can be stored for future use.
1. Public or Family Bank: It’s a type of storage facility where you can get the storage facility by paying a small fee. The public bank ensures that stem cells will be available to those who may require them in the future.
2. Private Cord Blood Bank: Private bank or cryobank is where umbilical cord blood is stored exclusively for the family who donated it. This type of storage requires an annual fee and provides peace of mind that the stem cells will only be used to help members of their own families when needed.
Cord blood banking is a great way to provide your family with a potential source of stem cells that could be used to treat many medical conditions. As science progresses, there will be more breakthroughs in the coming years. Who knows what possibilities could the cord blood hold for future generations? As of now, it's important to understand the pros and cons, given that your personal decision and preferences matter the most.
Currently, cord blood has been used to treat several diseases, including leukemia, lymphoma, sickle-cell anemia, thalassemia, and some metabolic disorders. As science progresses, more breakthroughs are being made in stem cell treatments.
Yes, both parents must provide written consent for the cord blood to be stored in a private bank. If one parent does not give consent, then the other parent can make all decisions regarding storing the cord blood.
Depending on the storage facility and processing method, umbilical cord blood can be stored for up to 25 years. However, some storage facilities offer short-term storage options as well. It is best to consult your chosen storage facility for more information on its specific policies and procedures.
Yes, in certain cases, someone else may be able to use your child's stored cord blood. If a family member has a compatible tissue type, then the stored cord blood may be used in a stem cell transplant. If your child's cord blood is donated to a public bank, it could potentially be made available for another recipient who matches their tissue type. You can get further information on that from your storage facility.