Cord blood is blood collected from the placenta and umbilical cord after birth. Cord blood has a similar composition to regular blood, but it is significantly higher in blood forming stem cells. The stem cells found in cord blood offer many exciting possibilities for treating diseases. Because the cells in cord blood are so immature, they don’t know how to attack foreign substances in your body. This is a huge advantage cord blood has over stem cells from bone marrow. Because cord blood is much easier to harvest and transplant than bone marrow, many people are opting to save their cord blood just in case.
1. Why Is Cord Blood So Coveted?
As already mentioned, stem cells from cord blood are much easier to harvest than stem cells from bone marrow. Cord blood also has a higher success rate in treatments due to the immaturity of the cells.Many clinical trials are currently attempting to cure diseases we once thought were incurable by using cord blood.
2. What Are Your Options For Donating Cord Blood?
A quick reminder that harvesting cord blood is completely harmless and does not affect your newborn baby. Your partner will still be able to cut the umbilical cord if you chose to and there’s no impact on your body. You have two main options if you decide to donate your cord blood:
3. Public Bank
Public banks allow anyone in need to use your cord blood. We’re still in the initial stages of harnessing the full power of stem cells, donating to a public bank significantly helps contribute to research. The only thing to keep in mind is you can’t change your mind and request the blood to be used for a family member.
4. Private Bank
Storing your cord blood in a private bank means it will be preserved only for your family to use. When your store your cord blood privately, it’s most likely to be used by a family member instead of the child the blood came from.
5. Certain Types Of Cancers
One of the most exciting applications of cord blood is potentially treating cancer. The goal of treatments like chemotherapy is to destroy diseased cells and restore normal blood cell production. Unfortunately, chemotherapy and bone marrow transplants come with many side effects, and they don’t always work.
Using cord blood is an exciting and natural way to restore healthy blood cell production in a person. Once a person’s body starts producing healthy blood cells, cancer goes into remission. Cord blood is exciting because it can help speed up the healing process.
6. Sickle Cell Anemia
Sickle cell anemia is a blood disorder inherited from both parents. Symptoms of the disease include episodes of pain when sickled blood cells are stuck together, problems with spleen function and overall fatigue and weakness.
Similar to cancer, blood transfusions and bone marrow transplants are common treatments for Sickle Cell Anemia. The idea is the same; to introduce new blood cells that help return a person’s blood cell production to normal.
Cord blood is a new way to give people suffering from Sickle cell Anemia the new stem cells they need to fight the disease. Stem cells from cord blood are a much better treatment than a bone marrow transplant or taking strong medications such as Hydroxyurea.
7. Other Rare Diseases
Stem cell research continues to progress every day. If you decide to donate your cord blood to a public bank, you’re pushing the world of stem cell research ahead. Cord blood has the potential to eventually treat diseases like Alzheimer’s, muscular dystrophy, osteoporosis and many other serious diseases.