Cord blood is the blood that is collected from the umbilical cord and the placenta after birth. The Cord Blood contains hematopoietic stem cells that are essential in the treatment of various diseases and conditions. Hematopoietic stem cells (HPCs) are also called progenitor cells that are present in the blood and the bone marrow. The HPCs are capable of maturing into various blood cells like red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.
The Importance of Hematopoietic Stem Cells
These cells are essential because they can be used in treating a myriad of diseases. Some of the common diseases that can be treated through the HPCs via Cord Blood Banking are include neurological disorders, immune system, genetic disorders, some forms of cancers like lymphomas and leukemia. These stem cells are primary treatments for most of the conditions named above.
Benefits of Using Cord Blood in Treating Diseases
1. Cord blood can be used in treating more people than when bone marrow is extracted. More matches can be obtained with cord blood, and this is what makes this possible. What is more, with cord blood, less rejection is likely to be experienced than with the case of bone marrow.
2. Collecting cord blood is easier than obtaining the bone marrow. Additionally, there is no pain during the collection as it is with bone marrow.
3. It is also necessary to understand that stem cells from cord blood can be used to strengthen the immune system during cancer treatment. It is not possible to achieve this with the use of bone marrow cells.
4. Cord blood can also be stored for future uses because it can be frozen and still retain the viability.
Storage of Cord Blood
Cord blood is usually stored in two different types of banks
- Public Cord Blood Bank
Here, cord blood for allogeneic transplants is stored. The public cord blood banks do not charge for the services. Anyone can also be treated with the stem cells collected from the cord blood stored here. All the donors for public cord blood banks are usually screened for various conditions before the collection. Testing and typing are also done after the collection for easy tracking.
- Private Cord Blood Bank
The private banks are also called family banks, and they are used in the storage of autologous cord blood. There is an annual fee that is charged by the private banks. The blood has to be tested, typed, and screened before they can be stored here.
Collection of Cord Blood
The obstetrician at the hospital usually collects the cord blood. The process of collection often is simple, and there are no complications or pain during or after the collection. It should be noted that some of the hospitals do this for free while others charge. Once the baby is born, the umbilical cord is cut and clamped, and blood is drawn from the cord using a needle and transfer bag.
What to Do Before the Collection of Cord Blood
1. The public or private bank has to be notified and a collection kit obtained.
2. A family medical history recorded, and various tests performed on the expectant woman beforehand.
3. Consent must also be given.