Cord blood is blood that is left in the umbilical cord and placenta after giving birth. Newborn cord blood is collected because it contains blood forming stem cells which are useful in treating diseases that require the transplant of the bone marrow. Diseases which can be treated using cord blood include leukemia, sickle cell disease and certain types of anemia. Parents might decide to have their newborn cord blood collected for use in the future once the child or a family member or relative suffer from problems relating to a cord blood curable diseases.
Types of Banks That Collect And Store Newborn Cord Blood:
- Public Banks- These are cord blood banks that collect and store donated newborn cord blood for research or for giving to people who might need it for treatment of certain kinds of diseases. Public banks do not charge any fee to provide this service. After a woman gives birth, the blood is collected, marked anonymously and sent to a public bank to be used and to be saved for future use. Parents donating their newborn cord blood in a public bank should be aware that in case the child or a family member develops a disease that is treatable using cord blood, the donated blood cannot be obtained from the bank. Thus, they should be careful and absolutely sure that they want to donate the blood to the bank as it is impossible to retrieve it later on.
- Private Banks – These are generally blood banks which store cord blood for personal use by the family members of the child. Private Banks charge a fee for this service. Family members who have a history of stem cell disease should think about this option. A family may decide to have the cord blood stored in a private bank in case one of their family members suffer a disease in the future which is highly treatable using newborn cord blood. The practice is however not recommended because of the high costs and the fact that the chances of the family member suffering from such types of diseases are low. Private Banks are highly recommended if the family has a history of stem cell disorders. If not, the blood could be donated to a public blood bank especially to patients who need it most.
Obtaining Newborn Cord Blood
Newborn Cord Blood is obtained by pumping the placenta out through the umbilical cord at the delivery time after detaching the cord from the newborn. The cord blood is the one left behind in the placenta and the umbilical cord after delivery. This type of blood contains all of the essential elements in the body like white blood cells, red blood cells, platelets and plasma. Cord blood also contains hematopoietic cells which are types of stem cells that are very effective in treating heart diseases and associated with genetics or bone marrow problems. The cells are believed to be able to treat about seventy diseases.
There are several methods which professionals use to obtain cord blood. The most commonly used technique is the closed technique method. This is similar to the standard methods used or the collection of blood. In this method, a professional carries out the procedure and cuts the umbilical vein by the use of a needle that is connected to a blood bag through which the cord blood will be collected. This method normally allows the collection of about 75ml of cord blood. The blood is then preserved and then kept in a cord blood bank.
Cord Blood Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine
Uses of Infants Cord Blood
Infant cord blood contains cells that can be used to treat cancer and certain types of blood genetic disorders. Families with long histories of genetic disorders could benefit from newborn cord blood for treatment.
You can find studies which are being carried out to determine if newborn cord blood could be used to treat patients who have suffered injuries of the head, type 1 diabetes , stroke and hearing problems. The research is being carried out to children using their cord blood which cannot be rejected by their own body.