Thursday, June 21, 2012

Guest Post: How useful is cord blood banking?

Umbilical cord blood banking is extremely useful for medical research and the blood can already be used in the treatment of several serious illnesses. All expectant parents should consider donating cord blood very seriously, either as an altruistic public donation or privately for the benefit of the child and other family members.  The decision must be made before the confinement, as the time of birth is the only opportunity that medical professionals will have to collect the blood.

You may be wondering why cord blood is so beneficial and why you should consider banking it for the future.  It is the embryonic stem cells contained within the cord blood that makes it so important.  These cells are extremely young and unsullied and can be grown to become specialized cells; they can copy themselves repeatedly, unlike other more mature cells in the body.  That means stem cells can be used to grow new organs, treat disease, and replace damaged cells.

The cord blood is collected just moments after the baby is born.  Once that moment has passed, there is no opportunity later to collect the cord blood.  The collection process, which takes only minutes, is simple, painless, and non-invasive. In fact, neither baby nor mother will be aware of it.  Once cord blood is collected for banking, it is cryogenically frozen and can be stored for up to 25 years.

Why consider cord blood banking?

Banking your child’s cord blood privately can ensure that your baby, or another family member, has access to the stem cells if they ever need them.  If you elect private banking the cord blood is available for your immediate use and can be shipped anywhere in the world.  If you choose to publicly bank the cord blood, it may be used for medical research or for the treatment of any suitable patient.  The stem cells within cord blood have a very low rejection risk, even if there is no direct genetic match.  This is why they are so essential in treating a wide variety of diseases.

As mentioned, cord blood can be used in a variety of medical applications.  Stem cells can morph into a variety of other cells, regardless of type or location in the body.  This is primarily why banking cord blood is so critical – it can actually save a life.

Because there are so many diseases that umbilical cord blood can be used to treat – 70, in fact – it makes good sense to bank the blood.  Who knows what these amazing stem cells will be found to do in a few more decades with consistent research and testing?  The possibilities are thought to be very exciting by medical scientists and might even include complete cures for some of mankind’s most deadly diseases.

Conduct some research if you are interested in banking your baby’s cord blood. Weigh the pros and cons and consider them carefully so that you understand what is entailed.  As part of your research, read as many cord blood banking reviews as possible.  And don’t be afraid to give the cord blood banks, both public and private, a call and ask as many questions as you need.

Disclosure: Monetary compensation was received for this post, however all opinions are my own.


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