What cord blood banking really is and how stem cell storage can provide 'biological insurance' for you and your baby.
While preparing for a new addition to the family, many expecting couples are faced with all sorts of choices and decisions regarding the birth of their newborn. Parents-to-be face many decisions from the instant they know they're expecting, as planning for the child's future is one of the most fundamental responsibilities of a parent. Most parents will begin to put aside money for higher education, making sure their houses are "baby-proof", ensuring their kids have all the proper nutrition as well as a loving and nurturing environment.
With the latest progress of science and technology, new ways to prevent and cure diseases have been discovered. One of the most incredible new fields of scientific research is stem cell preservation. Stem cells have the remarkable potential to develop into many different cell types in the body. Serving as a sort of repair system for the body, they can theoretically divide without limit to replenish other cells as long as the person or animal is still alive. When a stem cell divides, each new cell has the potential to either remain a stem cell or become another type of cell with a more specialized function, such as a muscle cell, a red blood cell, or a brain cell.
One of the richest sources of blood stem cells is found in umbilical cord blood, and it has been successfully used to treat over 70 different diseases, including: Leukemia, Hodgkin's Disease, and Sickle-Cell Disease. Research conducted in labs showed also that these stem cells can help to reverse symptoms of stroke by rebuilding the areas of the brain affected.
Through Cord Blood Banking, it is possible for families to preserve their own genetically unique blood, after the birth of their child. It not only ensures the future of their baby's health, it also ensures the future of their family's health as stored cord blood can be used for family members as well. The stem cells can be kept in storage for an indefinite period of time and should they be required, they only need to be thawed and are then ready for transplantation.
The collection of umbilical cord blood is a simple, safe and painless process, which takes just a few minutes. The procedure poses no health risks whatsoever to either the mother or child, and collecting the cord blood may occur after either vaginal or cesarean deliveries. Neither the baby nor the mother's pregnancy, or birth experience, is affected by the donation procedure due to the fact that the stem cells are collected following the birth of the child.
Minutes after a baby's birth, the umbilical cord is clamped, cutting off the link between the child and the placenta. The amount of blood remaining in the umbilical cord and placenta - generally 3-5 fluid ounces - is then collected and immediately delivered to a cord blood bank for storage. (Cord blood banks have medical transport companies that come to collect the sample and transport it to the lab.) A blood sample from the mother is also taken at this point for testing. At the bank, the unit of cord blood undergoes processing, and samples are dispatched to labs for various tests.
The blood is then processed in order to isolate the blood stem cells and to prepare them for cryogenic storage.
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