If you're currently pregnant with your first child, you're likely already fielding well-meaning but invasive questions and commentary from nearly everyone you encounter. While advice from those who had babies a decade or more ago can be useful in many ways, there are a number of scientific advances -- particularly cord blood banking -- that simply weren't available for previous generations. Read on to learn more about cord blood banking to determine whether pursuing this option is a wise financial decision.
What is involved in cord blood banking?
Cord blood banking involves the safe and sterile storage of the lifesaving stem cells that remain present in your baby's umbilical cord just after birth. This blood can later be used in several types of stem cell therapies designed to combat certain diseases and conditions, much like bone marrow is used to treat leukemia or sever autoimmune disorders.
If you decide to pursue cord blood banking, a lengthy section of your child's umbilical cord will be clamped just after birth and immediately sent to a laboratory for cryogenic freezing. Because these cells' efficacy at disease treatment diminishes for each minute the cord blood is no longer traveling between mother and child, freezing these cells as quickly as possible is crucial to preserving their effectiveness.
At some later point, you may opt to have these cells thawed and used to treat an illness suffered by your child or another family member; or if you (fortunately) have no need for this cord blood, you can have it safely disposed of once your child has "aged out" of the period of time during which cord blood might be needed.
When should you seek cord blood banking?
There are a number of misconceptions surrounding the use of cord blood. While this blood can, in theory, be used to help heal your child if he or she is suffering from a blood-related disorder that requires stem cell therapy (like leukemia), because these stem cells contain the same DNA that allowed this disorder to manifest in the first place, they may not be the best option if another transplantation method is available. In many cases, a better option is to seek a bone marrow transplant or another type of stem cell therapy from an eligible donor (like a close family member), even if the child's cord blood is available.
However, one advantage of cord blood banking is its ability to be used to treat another child or family member's illness when closer genetic matches are unavailable. One of the reasons bone marrow transplants are so rare when performed between non-family members is the infinitesimal probability that someone who has no genetic connection to you will have all of the necessary antigens to match your own DNA. Cord blood, unlike bone marrow, doesn't require that all antigens match, and a 4 out of 6 match is usually sufficient to ensure a successful transplant.
If you have a young child battling a chronic illness that can potentially be treated with cord blood, saving your new baby's cord blood for this purpose can be a very wise investment. Contact a business, such as Glory Wellness Center and Weight Loss Clinic, for more information.