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Basics of Cord Blood And Its Collection

Oct 9, 2007
Cord blood is the blood which is extracted from the umbilical cord and the placenta after a babys birth. It is rich in blood forming cells. These cells are called stem cells. Research has proved that stem cells can be used to effectively treat various diseases which were earlier regarded as difficult to cure.

The cord blood from the umbilical cord can not be collected unless the mother gives a written permission. After the mother has found a bank of her choice, she has to undergo extensive paperwork at the bank. However, just her consent is not enough. She has to undergo various tests to ensure that her blood is fit for preservation and whether there are any genetic abnormalities.

If the cord blood is being collected by a private bank, the family preserving the blood has the sole right to the stored unit. However, if it is a public cord blood bank, parents are not guaranteed that the blood they get in case of a treatment will be theirs. At this point, the mother is assured that neither she nor her babys identity will ever be revealed in case of the blood being donated to someone else.

The collection of cord blood is the responsibility of the bank or registry. An important issue here is that if there is any complication during pregnancy or the delivery, the umbilical blood is not collected. Besides, the quantity matters too. If the blood in the placenta is too less, the plan for collection is abandoned. Usually, a single unit of cord blood is around three to five ounces. Less collection, means less stem cells.

The mother and the baby are not affected in anyway during the collection process. The blood is drained after the delivery and after the umbilical cord is clamped. The entire process normally takes 10 to 15 minutes, but not more than that.

Cord blood banking is a relatively new concept and as of now, records say that stem cells have been effectively used 15 years after preservation. Though experts claim that stem cells, if preserved well, can be preserved forever, there is no evidence to prove this.

Cord blood banking is an expensive affair. Not many parents are sure whether they want to go ahead with the preservation, thinking about the expenses. After all, if their child or its siblings require a transplant, the age old process of bone marrow is always available. Experts here claim that the stem cells in the umbilical cord are richer than the ones in the bone marrow. This argument can be challenged by the fact that bone marrow transplants do not face the quantity limitation like the umbilical cord blood. At the end of the day, it depends on the parents of the baby whether they want to preserve the cord blood of the baby in a bank. Some parents, however, like to look at it as a health insurance for the family.
About the Author
These days cord blood is much in discussions because of magical treatment properties of stem cells. You too can opt for umbilical cord blood storage and cord blood collection in a cord blood bank. Cord Blood Banking provides more insight and information on cord blood banking.
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