When you are pregnant, there are so many things to consider! You and your baby’s health are the two most important things, of course. But for some parents, thinking about future health is just as important as the health during pregnancy and infancy. Some parents consider the idea of Cord Blood Banking as a precaution against future health problems for the baby and even for future or present siblings.
Umbilical Cord Blood banking means taking blood from the umbilical cord when your baby is born and storing it in either a private bank (just for your child or family; fees are involved) or a public bank (for use by those who might be in need; no fee) for future use.
Cord blood is very rich in stem cells, which are very important medically. Stem cells are special cells that have the ability to transform into virtually any human cell. That makes them valuable for treatment if your child — or someone else in need — were ever to become ill with certain kinds of diseases — such as leukemia, lymphoma, and sickle cell anemia. The specific cells in the umbilical cord are called hematopoietic progenitor cells or HPCs. Choosing to bank that cord blood is seen by many parents as a way to preserve potentially life-saving cells that would otherwise get thrown away after the birth.
Private storage of core blood is important for many families. Because the stem cells in the blood come straight from your baby and therefore your family, there is no fear of rejection should those cells need to be used. There is also a 50-75 percent chance that siblings or other close family members will also be able to benefit from that blood, in case they are in need of life-saving care. According to the Institute of Medicine, HPC transplants have saved more than 20,000 lives so far. So it’s easy to see why so many parents consider cord blood banking as an important decision in the life of their unborn child.
Medical advances in the use of cord blood are happening all the time, so it it likely that potential uses will far outweigh current ones as time and research continue. Choosing to bank your baby’s cord blood now can mean life-saving measures can be safely taken many years from now. But since the opportunity to harvest those valuable HPCs is limited to the actual birth, it is a decision that should be made prior to the actual birth.
If you would like to bank your baby’s cord blood, the process is very simple. You contact a private or public Core Blood Bank in the United States and tell them of your intentions. They will send you a package for the harvesting and storage, and you will bring that to the hospital when the birth time arrives. Our doctors here at Southlake OB/GYN and Advanced Surgery will use the equipment in the package to collect the blood for storage.
To learn more about Core Blood Banking and how our doctors will help you accomplish that, contact our office today. We are here to help answer any questions you may have about this potentially life-saving measure.