How and why is it useful to keep the umbilical cord in the bank?
Giving birth to a little one is not just exciting but also need a lot of pre-planning. As a parent, you will decide things in advance regarding what to do when you are pregnant when the baby is to be born and also during post-pregnancy.
Another important thing you would have to consider thinking about is whether to keep your baby’s umbilical cord in the bank. If you approach other people and ask them what to do then remember everybody would have a different opinion be it a physician, a gynaecologist or a science researcher. It is you who needs to decide and be convinced to do so.
What is the umbilical cord? Why storing it?
Before we just go onto considering the benefits of saving something, we need to know what are we saving and why? So basically, the umbilical cord is the cord that attaches the baby with the mother in the womb. Its the cord that connects the foetus with the placenta and is responsible for flowing blood, oxygen and other nutrients to the foetus in the mother’s womb.
While giving birth, this cord is cut to separate the baby from the womb. It is usually practised throwing it away but since a while now, parents have started to store it in the blood blanks for the future health of their baby.
Here, it is not exactly the umbilical cord that’s stored but practically the umbilical cord’s fluid gets stored as a practice. In this process the doctor clamps the umbilical cord in two places, about 10 inches apart, and cuts the cord, separating mother from baby.
They then insert a needle and collect at least 40 millilitres of blood from the cord. The blood is sealed in a bag and sent to a lab or cord blood bank for testing and storage. This process usually takes only a few minutes and is painless to both: mother and the baby.
The blood bank for cord may also send tubes, so that the mother’s blood can be taken, too. If so, the banking kit will have instructions along with blood collection tubes.
Pros of storing cord blood:
• The first reason why you would want to store your baby’s cord blood and not donate it is that your baby will have its own blood when needed. Because if you donate anybody who is a match could get the blood and it would not be stored precisely only for your family.
• The cord blood transplants have improved so much that over the past 10 years, because researchers and clinicians have learned more about dosing cord blood, picking better matches, and giving the patient better supportive care as they go through the transplant.
• And most importantly, cord blood is believed to save lives. Unlike other cells, these cells of cord blood are capable of turning themselves into cells of any type and could even renew themselves. This is useful to treat diseases that affect the blood and the immune system like leukaemia, types of cancer, anaemia and few of metabolic disorders.
• Also, there are no religious, political or ethical controversies in collecting and storing umbilical cord blood cells.
• Even if it is not for the baby, if there is a sibling with a medical condition, he/she could use this chord blood to be greatly benefited from it, plus you would not have to pay huge amounts for someone else’s cord blood.
However, there could be benefits of storage you need to be aware that most of the babies do not need their cord during their lifetime. The number of people who need their cord blood is between 1 of 400 and 1 of 2000. Also, there have been studies that your cord blood can be stored for a period of only 15 years and would no more serve its purpose. Remember, treating a genetic disease is not possible through umbilical cord fluids as it is also present in that fluid. So, when you decide on what to do, I prefer you to consider all the other points including the expenses. Make a decision you feel is the best for your baby. Happy parenting.
1. Umbilical cord blood is the blood of the chord that attaches the placenta to the baby is stored to save the baby from future diseases.
2. Therapies with cord blood have turned out to be more successful.
3. It saves lives and promises a better medical future.