In the present times, the to-be-parents are faced with many issues before their baby is born. This includes the finalizing the right pediatrician for their unborn baby, the name of the baby, changes that should be made in the house before the arrival of the baby. Financially unsteady parents have to find a source of money in case of any emergencies. The parents are now familiar with advertisements in parenting and childcare magazines regarding cord blood banking. They might come across the flyers and banners, signifying the importance of cord blood banking. It is their turn to decide whether they have to bank the newborn’s umbilical cord. They understand that cord blood banking is their only golden opportunity to save the cord and maybe use it in the future.
Let us go through the same in detail and answer the questions relating to cord blood banking. Some of the vital questions where we need an answer are:
What Is Cord Blood?
Cord blood refers to the blood in your baby’s umbilical cord and placenta. Cord blood is rich in stem cells that can develop into all types of blood cells. Thereby, it is apt for treating diseases that harm the immune system and blood cells. Diseases like leukemia, sickle-cell anemia, and some metabolic disorders can be effectively treated with the stem cells.
What Is Cord Blood Banking?
A cord blood bank is a place where umbilical cord blood is stored for future use. Nowadays, more people are aware of its role in treating diseases of the blood and immune systems. Due to this increasing awareness and requirements, both private and public cord blood banks are budding all over our country as well.
Cord blood banking is ideally a process of collection of the cord blood from the placenta and the umbilical cord by extracting and freezing the stem cells at really low temperatures for putting them to potential use later.
How Is Cord Blood Collected?
The cord collection process is plain, secure, and painless. This is basically not more than a five minutes job and does not at all interfere with delivery. It is possible with both vaginal deliveries as well as C-sections. Ideally, there are two methods which are put to use for the collection of blood:
- Syringe Method: Under this, a syringe is used to draw the blood from the umbilical cord right after the cord is cut. The process is akin to the drawing of blood for any regular blood test.
- Bag Method: This method drains the blood into the bag by elevating the umbilical cord.
Why Do You Save Cord Blood?
Umbilical cord blood is, to simply put, a lifesaver. Due to the changed lifestyle and changes in the environment, different kinds of health issues hamper with the immune system, and metabolism is quite common nowadays. The cord blood is quite rich in stem cells. The stem cells can be converted into all sorts of blood cells that can be used for the treatment of diseases that can harm the blood as well as the immune system.
How Long Can Cord Blood Be Saved?
There is no maximum time for storing the cord blood cells as this number can keep varying. It is also seen that most of the blood banks do not label the stored units with any label. The cells do not carry an expiry date and can be stored for an indefinite time.
How Does Cord Blood Banking Work?
The cord blood banking comprises a collection of the blood that has been left in the newborn’s umbilical cord and placenta and then storing it for future use. The cord blood encompasses possible lifesaving cells, which are referred to as stem cells.
In the first instance, it looks like a complicated procedure; however, in reality, it is quite a simple and plain one.
Given below is the cycle that is followed for cord blood banking and a brief about all stages:
- Enrolment: A basic set of information is required for enrolling. It is free of risk and not chargeable till the cord blood, and the tissue has been received, processed, and cryogenically preserved.
- Collection: The maternal samples are collected before delivery for infectious diseases. After birth, the cord blood is collected from the baby’s umbilical cord, and the cord tissue is collected after the delivery of the placenta.
- Transportation: The cord bank needs to pick the collection kit within two hours of delivery. The cord bank representatives can be made to come any time, 24 hours a day, and seven days a week. The medical courier then transports the collection kit to the cord bank laboratory.
- Testing and Processing: The cord blood and the tissue are tested, processed, and cryogenically stored within 36 to 48 hours of collection. The blood samples and tissues are tested for infectious diseases and contamination in the laboratory.
- Preservation: The cord blood, as well as the tissue, are wrapped in multiple layers for providing extra protection, which could arise due to cross-contamination at the time of storage.
What Should All Be Considered Before Finalising The Stem Cell Bank?
While finalizing the best stem cell bank, it is very important to consider certain factors. Here are some factors that help you to bring down the long list of stem cell banks to just a few:
- Choose a bank with its own hi-tech lab and storage rooms. These banks will have power backups and technologies that ensure continuous monitoring, thereby guarantee a 24×7 favorable environment for the stem cells.
- Make sure the bank has a license and expertise, medical advisory board.
- Ensure the technicians are well experienced in this field
- The bank and lab should be located in an area less prone to natural calamities like floods, earthquakes, etc.
- Check the financial stability of the stem bank before choosing one
- Choose one who cares about your pocket, as well. Remember, the right stem bank provides several price options, as well.
Benefits Of Cord Blood Banking
- Stem Cells are the building blocks for the immunity system
- The process of cord blood collection is a simple and easy one.
- In the case of a cord blood transplant, an exact match is not required.
- There are fewer chances of viral infection if cord blood transplants are done.
Diseases Treated With Cord Blood Banking
It is surprising for people to find out that cord blood cells can cure a lot of diseases. In cord blood therapy, the doctor injects the stem cells into the bloodstream of the patient from where the cells progress toward the damaged area. The cord blood banking is used for the treatment of various diseases like:
- Metabolic Disorder
- Blood Disorder
- Immunity Disorder
How Much Does It Cost To Save Umbilical Cord?
The baby’s umbilical cord stem cells can be preserved for an indefinite time with the help of variable packages. The cost is inclusive of testing, processing, and storage, as well. Every blood banking company has different pricing options depending on the time period and storage options.
A hypothetical illustration has been shown as under:
Does Insurance Cover Cord Blood Banking?
Most of the insurance plans never cover cord blood banking. The procedure of cord banking involves the collection and storage of cord blood for several years in unique medical freezers. The parents have to pay charges annually for long terms. Most of the insurance plans don’t encourage long term annual payments. However, some plans cover the costs of using the cord blood for medically necessary transplants.
Thus, with rapid technological advancement and due to its simple and streamlined approach, cord blood banking is gaining impetus and getting popular amongst the parents. It is hence rightly said, “Cord Banking is the driving force of the next big revolution.”