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Umbilical Cord Blood Banking

Umbilical Cord Blood Banking

      An umbilical cord blood bank is a capable facility that stores umbilical cord blood. The reasoning behind this practice is it can act as an insurance against future serious health problems. These include but are not limited to immune system genetic diseases, blood problems such as anemia, leukemia, other cancers such as lymphoma. It is believed that in the future umbilical cord blood could be used for diabetes, Cerebral Palsy, brain injuries, strokes, hearing loss, cardiovascular issues (heart disease), Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease muscular dystrophy, spinal cord injury and other diseases/health problems.

      What makes umbilical cord blood valuable is the stem cells it possesses. Stem cells can be viewed as the master cells that are responsible for building organs, ones immune system and blood. It is these properties that allow it to be used for regenerative medicine. It should be noted that the stem cells from cord blood are not embryonic stems cells. Embryonic stem cells have provoked much controversy.

      The process of obtaining cord blood stem cells is painless and relatively easy. This takes place after a baby is born from the mother. Your doctor/ midwife or healthcare provider cuts the umbilical cord and collects blood from it into a bag. The bag is then sealed properly and labeled. A medical courier then transfers this to the umbilical cord bank for proper preservation and storage. The initial process takes just a few minutes. However, this process is not a common practice when a baby is born. If this interests you, you must obtain information and sign up with a company before your baby is born so that all the essential pieces from the kit can be there when the baby is born. The process of collecting cord blood stems cells can only be done right at the time of birth. However there is the possibility of a sibling using a babies cord blood stem cells for certain diseases if a proper match can be made. However a perfect match is always ones own cord blood.

      The ability to store cord blood so that it can still be useful theoretically can be indefinitely. So practically, there would be no worry that you would outlive your cord blood. If you or your babies cord blood was obtained, and as long as the storage facility was still operational then you would have your cord blood available whenever you needed it. Another issue some people wonder about is the likelihood of if they would ever use it. I have read a few different odds of this. These range from approximately 1 in 450 to 1 in 200. Some factors also determining the odds in each person are any genetic pre-dispositions, lifestyle and environment. Also as science advances in this area, there is more a chance that stem cells from cord blood could be used for more health problems. There is also the opportunity to donate your babies cord blood for biologically unrelated people. There are times when stem cells from donor cord blood will work.

      For the cost of having umbilical cord blood stored in a medical blood bank it could prove more costly than gold in the event of health problems in the future. This however is up to the parents which is usually determined by both finances and their opinions of its worth for their baby.

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