Cord Blood Banking
One of the largest trends in the modern birth world is also saving lives.
Umbilical cords contain stem cells that can grow into organs, tissues and blood vessels. Stem cells are a misunderstood science and although they are an amazing medical phenomenon, there are also some major drawbacks to consider.
Stem cells in cord blood have been researched in FDA clinical trials to help treat brain injuries and even side effects of autism. Stem cells have already been used extensively to rebuild organs and tissues and treat certain diseases.
Cord blood can be a potentially great health resource for you and your family, and there are several companies that are making strides in the preservation and research of these cells for the future.
What is Cord Blood Banking
When your baby is delivered, the umbilical cord is still connected to the placenta filled with stem cell rich blood. One to five ounces of this cord blood is taken from the cord quickly and painlessly, and packaged for it’s journey to the banking facility. From here, parents have the option to donate this cord blood to families in need or pay to store their child’s cord blood and cells for future medical emergency or use.
Unfortunately cord blood banking also has it’s share of drawbacks. The process is often met with a fair amount of criticism mostly directed at the program’s price tag. Aside from being expensive, the American Academy of Pediatrics research says that using your own stem cells offer little to no advantage over donor cells. With such high costs, many parents find themselves discouraged from taking the plunge.
Every part of the human body contains stem cells in some quantity, however stem cells found in cord blood are younger and less likely to reject in transfusions. The quality of these cells make better matches for ethnic minority candidates that have a difficult time finding appropriate cell matches. The transplant of stem cells can help cancer patients restore their immune and circulatory system, giving them a better chance for a full and lasting recovery. Stem cells in cord blood however haven’t been proven to be more or less effective in the treatment of certain diseases.
With cord blood banking, does the good outweigh the bad?
The answer is still very unclear and most of the research is still very new.
Even many diseases that remain difficult to treat or are still unexplored are being effectively treated with the use of cord blood stem cells. If you or a loved one is expecting, research some different cord blood programs to see if banking is the right choice for you and your family.