There is much talk about cord blood banking, stem cell research, and other confusing medical terms when you are pregnant. You probably have received a pamphlet outlining some of the reasons to bank your baby’s cord blood.
However, most people are unaware of just what cord banking is about. What are the benefits, and why should you store your baby’s blood in a private or public facility?
Cord blood contains the highest and most viable concentration of stem cells in the body. Stem cells are used to help repair disease and damage to the body.
Currently, there are over 80 diseases that can be improved with stem cells, and the number is growing all the time.
Is easy and safe:
You don’t have to give your baby an injection or stick him with needles. Collecting the cord blood is completely painless because collection happens after the cord is cut.
In fact, most mothers are unaware when collection actually happens. It does not interfere with the care of the mother or newborn.
There are fewer cases of a person’s immune cells attacking the transplants from cord blood.
With bone marrow transplants, donors and patients’ cells often fight one another, weakening the patient, and sometimes rejecting the transplant altogether.
Protects the future:
The blood is collected and stored, frozen, for when it is needed.
The blood is tested before it is frozen, and the data is recorded in a public database (if you have donated it to a public store), when a match is found, the blood is used to help heal that person.
Does not require perfect matches:
Unlike other forms of donation, like bone marrow or organ transplants, cord blood transplants usually work when only a partial match is present.
That means that more people can be helped than with other forms of donation. According to some studies, it is estimated that with as few as 150,000 samples of cord blood, a match could be found for over 80 percent of United States citizens.
Transplant recipients often are struck with dangerous viruses, such as cytomegalovirus (CMV) and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV).
These are viruses that are latent in adult bodies but become active during a transplant. However, fewer than 1 percent of infants have the virus. This means that using cord blood will protect the donor-recipient from potentially deadly viruses.
Although cord blood is not a match for every family member, saving your baby’s blood has up to a 40 percent chance of matching other family members. Even extended family members may be able to use your baby’s blood to heal.
Whether to bank your baby’s cord blood privately, donate it to a public bank, or skip the process is a difficult decision that everyone must make on their own.
However, there are many benefits to banking cord blood, and if everyone donated, much fewer people would die each year and you would have the added peace of mind that comes from knowing you did everything you could to prepare your baby for the future.
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