Cord blood stem cells are poised to become one of the most important medical discoveries of the century. Found in the cord blood of newborn babies, these stem cells are attracting the attention of scientists and physicians all over the world due to their seemingly limitless potential to contribute to the development of virtually any part of the human body.
Stem cells have the genetic ability to turn themselves into just about any other kinds of cells in the body in order to foster new development and growth. They are also the basic structures of the human immune system that protects us from all sorts of foreign microscopic invaders. The ability of these cells to transform into other kinds of cells gives physicians a tool to treat a variety of inherited health disorders, as well as leukaemia. Bone marrow can treat diseases in a similar way to that of cord blood stem cells, but bone marrow is significantly more likely to be rejected by the body’s own immune system.
As a result, it is a good idea to store the stem cells of a baby in a cord blood bank. Of course, one hopes never to have to use them, but the ability to access them if they are needed is an ability that can bring great peace of mind. The cord blood stem cells from your newborn may prove useful in treating a number of genetic disorders or health conditions of the baby when he or she is older, or of the baby’s siblings, or even the baby’s parents.
The storage of cord blood stems is a two step process. First the cord blood must be collected, then it must be processed and frozen until it is needed or voluntarily discarded. The process of cord blood banking is simple, natural, safe, and painless. In most situations, it does not take longer than five or so minutes. It doesn’t get in the way of the delivery of your child and may be performed readily during both vaginal and cesarean births. Your medical health provider will typically use either the bag method or the syringe method in order to collect the blood.
In the bag method, the physician will lift up the umbilical cord so the cord blood can be drained into a bag for storage. In the syringe method, the physician will use a syringe to draw blood from the cord a short period of time after he or she cuts the umbilical cord. The syringe method is rather similar to when blood is drawn for a standard blood test.
The bag or syringe will have been labelled ahead of time with an identification number that is unique to your child. It is important to note that the blood must be collected in the first 15 minutes after birth, and must be processed within 48 hours by the laboratory that is handling the collection. The laboratory or facility that captured the cord blood will process and store it after processing the necessary payments from the parents.