Wednesday, January 16, 2013

What is Cord Blood Banking?


Cord blood banking involves collecting of the blood from within the umbilical cord after the birth of the baby and storing it for future use. Don’t be alarmed by hearing this. The collection process is simple and pain free and is usually done within 10 minutes of giving birth. After collection the cord blood is processed and cryopreserved.

 

Cryopreservation is the process of cooling cells or whole tissues to sub-zero temperatures. The cord blood banking involves two types public and private banking. The public banking method is supported by the medical community. Here there is no charge and the cord blood is used for future research purposes or for persons who need it. Private cord blood banking involves a fee which is usually high and it can be said as a form of biological insurance.

 

Okay! So far we saw the banking details now what does cord blood contain? It contains stem cells which are cells found mainly in the bone marrow and it is capable of developing into red  blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. The cord blood cells are used in the treatment of blood and immune system related genetic disorders, cancers and blood disorders. Cord blood is used in regenerative medicine where stem cells form the cornerstone of the study.

 

Now scientists are studying of how to use cord blood in the treating conditions like brain injury, type 2 diabetes, stroke and hearing loss. Research continues to discover the answer for cord blood usage in type 1 diabetes, cardiovascular repair and central nervous system upkeep. In my earlier post I discussed how scientists produced artificial blood from stem cells.

 

Usually the umbilical cord is discarded after birth. But if it is of so much use to humanity, donating it to public banks is also a form of service to humanity. This is purely my opinion. It seems that stem cells can be stored for 20 years which is a long period of time and their use does not pass in the blink of an eye.

 

Take care,

Swarnam