What Is Cord Blood Used For?
If you have a baby on the way, you might think that you have plenty of time to prepare for their arrival; after all, nine months does seem like a long time. However, just ask any parent and they will tell you that those nine months will fly by. The first trimester is spent celebrating […]
If you have a baby on the way, you might think that you have plenty of time to prepare for their arrival; after all, nine months does seem like a long time. However, just ask any parent and they will tell you that those nine months will fly by. The first trimester is spent celebrating the great news and adjusting to your growing body. The second trimester is about choosing names, planning baby showers, gender reveals, and decorating your nursery. And by the third trimester, your mind and body are preparing for delivery, which can take a huge physical toll on your body and energy levels. But somewhere between choosing a name and picking out a theme for your baby shower, it’s important for parents like you to decide on a birth plan and whether or not you will keep your newborn’s cord blood. More and more parents are choosing to save their baby’s cord blood because of the potential benefits that it can have for their future.
The first step to making any decision is awareness and that is why we want to make sure that you understand what cord blood is, what it’s used for, and whether or not it is worth it for you and your family.
What is Cord Blood and How Does Collection Work?
Cord blood is the rich source of stem cells that remain in the placenta and umbilical cord after birth. Since cord blood and placental tissue are such rich sources of stem cells, many families choose to collect and store their baby’s cord blood for future medical use.
So why is cord blood rich in stem cells? During labor, the body naturally boosts the immune system of the mother and baby via the maternal-fetal transfer of cells—the same cells responsible for the development of your baby’s organs, tissue, and immune system. This is why cord blood is collected immediately after birth.
The decision to store the stem cells should be made at least three months before your baby’s due date so you can adequately prepare for cord blood storage or donation.
One of the most commonly asked questions about cord blood banking is, “does it hurt?” and the answer is no. Cord blood banking is not painful to the mother or the baby and can be collected in under ten minutes. Details of the cord blood collection are typically handled by the cord blood bank but should be discussed with your healthcare provider as well. You might be wondering how the umbilical cord blood stem cells are collected. As previously mentioned, the process is pretty quick and is collected by the health team who use a sterile needle to draw the blood from the umbilical vessels. Once extracted, the blood is properly packaged and sent to your cord blood bank for long-term storage.
Cord Blood Uses
As we mentioned, stem cells are the foundation of our immune system, which is why cord blood stem cells are so valuable. They have the ability to divide and renew themselves into specific types of specialized cells. They also reproduce red blood cells and boost the immune system by repopulating damaged blood cells. So what is cord blood used for and how can it make a difference for your family? Below are just a few diseases and disorders that have been treated with cord blood stem cells:
- Acute Leukemia
- Chronic Leukemia
- High-Risk Solid Tumors
- Hodgkin & Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
- Myelodysplastic Syndromes
- Blood disorders
- Aplastic Anemia
- Beta Thalassemia
- Diamond-Blackfan Anemia
- Fanconi Anemia
- Sickle Cell Disease
- Immune disorders
- Chronic Granulomatous Disease
- Histiocytic Disorders
- Leukocyte Adhesion Deficiency
- Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Diseases
- Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome
- Metabolic disorders
- Krabbe Disease
- Hurler Syndrome
- Metachromatic Leukodystrophy
- Sanfilippo Syndrome
It is also important to note that umbilical cord blood stem cells are often referred to as a “safer” alternative to bone marrow transplants that are used to treat the same types of disorders or diseases as mentioned above.
Is It Worth It?
If you are considering cord blood banking or simply want to know more about the process or other types of stem cell banking, do not hesitate to contact us.
Remember that when it comes to banking your newborn’s stem cells, you only have one chance to do so and get it right and that is why more and more parents choose AlphaCord Newborn Stem Cell Bank.