- Cord blood can be stored in banks for later use.
- Cord blood contains stem cells that can help treat numerous medical conditions.
- An individual has a 1 in 217 chance of needing stem cells for treatment in his or her lifetime.
Cord blood banking is the method of preserving cord blood, which is blood taken from the umbilical cord after the delivery. Cord blood contains hefty amounts of stem cells, which are potential life-saying cells for numerous diseases. Collecting cord blood is a painless procedure, and is considered to be safe for both the mother and the child. Cord blood can be collected by the syringe method or the bag method. Both of these procedures are painless and simple. Cord blood is labelled with a unique number that identifies the source. The blood collected is preserved in an external facility called the cord blood bank and used when needed.
Why would you collect cord blood? Cord blood is rich in stem cells that can be used in the place of bone marrow stem cells. Cord blood stem cells have the ability to transform into multiple different body tissues and organs. It can be used for over 80 different types of life-threatening diseases, including cancers and immune deficiencies. Some of the diseases that can be treated with cord blood include:
Cord blood stem cells are also used to treat metabolic disorders, like Krabbe disease and Sanfilippo syndrome. These cells are in high demand to treat a number of diseases, like severe combined immunodeficiency diseases. Cord blood stem cells are also used to conduct research for developing new treatment options for different conditions. Cord blood from unrelated donors can also be used to treat a number of diseases, like cerebral palsy, metabolic disorders, and leukemia.
Cord blood can be stored in public or private banks. Stem cells stored in public banks are used for transplant, when required, or for research. Private cord blood banks, however, charge a small fee for storage and can be used exclusively for the individual, and anyone related to the individual. If considering storing your own cord blood cells for personal use, private banks are a more viable option. A national study from databases in the country show that the probability an individual needing a stem cell transplant is 1 in 217, by the age of 70-years-old.