Importance of Umbilical Cord Blood Banking for a Better Future

More and more people are now opting for umbilical cord blood banking for their kids. It acts as a safeguard against various health conditions and rare diseases; in case their kids suffer from any one of these disorders. Many private and public companies exist to help facilitate these endeavors.

What is Umbilical Cord Blood Banking?

The blood that remains in the placenta and the umbilical cord after delivery is referred to as cord blood. The umbilical cord is referred to as cord tissue. Cord blood is collected post-delivery in order to preserve it. A section of the umbilical cord is cut off for preservation purposes.

Special banks (storage units or companies) exist to collect and store both cord blood and tissue. It involves a scientific process where the blood and/or the tissue are collected without risking contamination and preserved in storage units. These banks offer storage units to each of their clients. These banks also issue certificates of sample viability and storage unit access to their clients.

The Significance of Umbilical Cord Banking

Extensive research (still ongoing) has proved that cord blood is extremely useful for fighting against diseases and saving lives. Preliminary research on cord tissue is also proving its usefulness to treat diseases.

A way to fight rare disorders –

Cord blood contains hematopoietic stem cells, which have been found helpful for treating rare diseases. Some of these conditions are blood disorders, cancers (especially leukemia and lymphoma), genetic conditions, neurological disorders, metabolic diseases, etc. Stem cells have the unique ability to replicate or form into different types of blood cells. Other cells do not possess this ability.

Cord tissue contains mesenchymal stem cells (MSC), which can form or replicate into organ tissues and cells. These cells can help treat strokes, heart disease, spinal cord injuries, cancers, diabetes, etc.

Serving kids –

When parents preserve cord blood and tissues of their kids, they are essentially helping their kids by protecting their future. Yes, stem cells are present in the bone marrow too. But the process of harvesting bone marrow is a painful one. There is also no guarantee of finding a match. In contrast, it is fairly easy to collect cord blood and tissue post deliveries. Even C-section births do not pose any problems in this regard.

Parents can opt for umbilical cord blood banking only or choose to preserve cord tissue also.

Helping with transplants –

There is also a greater need for preserving cord blood and tissues as a person’s own stem cells cannot be used to treat their genetic conditions or cancer like leukemia. A child with a genetic disorder will have all the cells affected by the condition. So, in such cases; there is the need for a transplant of stem cells. The same applies to leukemia.

So, a child’s stem cells can help to save the life of another and vice versa. If the match between two people is ideal for a stem cell transplant, the treatment can still be viable.

Match between siblings is also not always possible. So, it is recommended to preserve the cord blood of each child separately. In some cases, stems cells from more than one donor may be required. For this reason, it is also a good idea to store the cord blood of each child even in cases of multiple births and identical twins.

Aiding research –

A lot of research has already occurred to test the viability of cord blood and stem cells in treating rare conditions. But still, a lot remains to be done. Research into cord tissue is still in the nascent stages as compared to cord blood.

When people preserve their kids’ stem cells and agree to donate the same for research; it really helps the future of humanity. People needn’t part with all the stem cells they preserve for their kids. But in the case of identical twins, some amount of cord blood can be donated for research. In case, parents don’t need the preserved stem cells of their kids anymore, they can choose to donate them for research.

It doesn’t take much to preserve cord blood and tissues. You can choose an umbilical cord blood banking company as per your budget.

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