Medical practitioners and medical research scientists are fully aware of the benefits that can be gained from collecting umbilical cord blood after the birth of your baby.
Cord blood can be used for stem cell transplants which will help your body to grow new bone marrow and other vital tissues. Here are five good reasons why you should consider the option of banking your newborn’s cord blood.
Helping a family member
Whilst it is thankfully unlikely that your baby will have a disease that could be treated with stem cells, if that situation should occur, they are more likely to need stem cells from someone else rather than their own because you need to introduce a slightly different genetic profile that does not contain the fault that they need to treat. However, the cord blood you bank could be used to help a sibling or another close member of the family who may need a stem cell transplant to tackle diseases such as leukemia, Hodgkin’s Lymphoma or sickle cell disease or a number of other recognized conditions.
Safe and painless
Collecting cord blood is a safe and painless procedure that normally takes little more than five minutes to complete and it does not interfere with delivery in any way. It does not actually matter whether the delivery of the baby is either vaginal or by cesarean, and immediately after the baby is born, your health care provider will either use a syringe or bag method to draw and collect the blood.
No health risk to the baby
There are no associated health risks related to cord blood collection as the blood is collected from the umbilical cord after it has been cut which therefore prevents any possibility of pain, discomfort or harm in any way to your newborn.
The option to collect and bank umbilical cord blood is a onetime opportunity but it opens up a wide number of possibilities and potential future benefits as a result of taking this decision. Cord blood stem cells are being used for as many as 80 clinical trials at the present time and there are new uses and potentially lifesaving treatments being investigated on an ongoing basis as medical researchers examine future technology using cord blood stem cells.
Some of the existing diseases that can be treated using cord blood stem cell transfusions include Heart conditions and coronary artery disease, vascular disease, neurological problems and multiple sclerosis.
Improved blood matches for ethnic minorities
This is quite an issue in the U.S, as ethnic minorities often struggle to obtain a suitable match when a patient needs a bone marrow transplant. It is simply a case of numbers and the fact that there are not enough donors from certain ethnic groups to be able to find a suitable match. Scientists have established that the stem cells from umbilical cord blood are more immature than those taken from bone marrow, which means that they are easier to match without requiring such a stringent criteria and also less likely to attack the body after the transfusion. Using cord blood for transfusions on patients from an ethnic minority group rather than taking stem cells from bone marrow, is helping to balance the odds more in their favor and give them access to treatment they may not have otherwise had.
These are just some of the main reasons why you should consider banking your newborn’s cord blood and as none of us know what the future holds, we may someday be very grateful that we made that decision.