February 24, 2014
Cord blood, which is found in the umbilical cords of newborn babies, has the power to potentially cure diseases and save lives. Cord blood banking is growing more and more common as research in regenerative medicine continues to grow. In fact, many states have passed laws requiring expectant parents to receive information on umbilical cord blood banking from their healthcare provider, so that they may be properly educated and understand all of their options. It is critical that parents (and the general public) become educated about cord blood and banking options, because there is only a small window of time that cord blood can be collected, which is at the birth of a child.
The medical term “cord blood” is used to describe the blood that is left in the umbilical cord and placenta after a child is born. This blood and placenta is rich in stem cells, which are used in medical treatments such as stem cell transplantation, among other new emerging therapies that benefit from the cord blood bank. These stem cells are a different type of cells than those found in fertilized eggs or mature adults, which means they can be safely collected and used to treat different types of diseases. They can grow into many different types of cells, particularly blood and immune system cells. Cord blood banking enables these cells to be collected and preserved, where they were simply disposed of as medical waste in the past.
In current medicine, stem cells from umbilical cord blood are used as replacements for bone marrow in stem cell transplants. This method is known to treat more than 80 diseases (this number will only rise as research improves and emerges), including blood disorders, genetic diseases, metabolic diseases, and several different types of cancers. Cord blood cells can also be used as replacements for bone marrow, through the National Marrow Donor Program. As you can see, the simple decision to collect and store your child’s cord blood in a cord blood bank can possible have huge ramifications, and could even save a life. It should be noted, however, that with public banking, only 25% of the donations we receive can be banked, due to a number of requirements. Still, your donation could be the one that makes a difference!
More research is underway, as scientists explore different ways to make the most out of cord blood cells. In the future, cord blood could be used to treat cerebral palsy, brain and spine injuries, autism, and type one diabetes. There hasn’t been a better time to consider CariCord for all of your cord blood banking needs!