Cord Blood Banking
The birth of a baby is the miracle of life. There is nothing that quite equates to bringing a new living, breathing baby into the world after the 9 month journey of pregnancy. Throughout this time, a bond is formed between mother and baby that is quite unlike anything else. The thought of this new life, to raise and develop, becomes the sole central focus.
Given this new focal point, it is easy to lose sight of other things. After all, a baby that is totally dependant on you does need to be at the forefront of your vision. However, your baby’s birth can also save other lives in ways you may not expect.
Cord blood banking is a medical and scientific process that can lead to many benefits. It is something that is done at birth and has little consequence for you and your newborn baby, but is something that has the potential to lead to groundbreaking research. Let’s find out more about cord blood banking and exactly what happens in this procedure.
What is it?
In short, cord blood banking involves taking the blood that is left over from the baby’s umbilical cord after it is cut. The umbilical cord connects the growing baby in the womb to the placenta, which is essentially its life support. The blood that flows throughout pregnancy delivers important nutrients, proteins, minerals, and vitamins to the baby. Therefore, the blood in the umbilical cord is highly enriched with all this good stuff.
An important part of the cord blood is stem cells. These stem cells are different to other type of stem cells, such as those in the embryonic stem cells or those of an adult. Therefore, these stem cells are more important and rare. Collecting them after a baby is born can make big changes in research and medical treatments.
How does it work?
The procedure to get the cord blood is very simple. All that happens is the leftover blood from the baby’s placenta and umbilical cord is collected in test tubes. This is then stored for future use and medical research.
There are two options with cord blood banking. You can either donate it to a public cord blood bank so that anyone can use it when needed, or you can pay to put it in a private blood bank and use it for your family only. The latter option is suitable if there are known genetic medical conditions.
What are the benefits?
Cord blood can be a major contributor to our understanding of medical conditions and neurological diseases. Many stem cells collected from cord blood banking will go towards researching whether they are suitable to treat and aid conditions such as autism and brain injury. Therefore, you little baby could make a huge difference in the life of someone else, without even realising it.
Which diseases can be treated?
Stem cells are highly powerful because they have the ability to treat diseases as well as develop new organ tissue. They are used regularly in cell transfusions and bone marrow transfusions.
Cord blood banking has the potential to aid many people suffering in different ways. For instance, some of the diseases it can reach and assist include blood cancers (leukemia), immune system disorders, and metabolic disorders.
In addition, other conditions such as autism, cerebral palsy, and acquired brain injuries can benefit greatly from the research and progress undertaken with cord blood banking.
How much does it cost?
Cord blood banking can come with a price tag. There are different plans at different private blood banks. For instance, at Cell Care Australia, a 12 month annual plan is $153 per each month over 12 months, plus a storage fee of $195 per annum. This gives you a rough idea of some of the costs associated, but it is important to do plenty of research to find the right plan and blood bank for you.
Where can it be done in Australia?
There are many different private blood banks available across Australia. Some companies include Cell Care, Stemlife, and Cryosite. Information about all of these can be found online. Having an open discussion with your prenatal doctor is also a good idea so that you can get all the information and understanding possible to make an informed decision on cord blood banking.
Cord blood banking is something that is becoming more and more commonly done. It is something worth bringing up in conversation with your doctor during your prenatal appointments. If it is something you are interested in, make sure you do thorough research and have a sound understanding of the costs involved. Remember, your baby’s stem cells could lead to life changing treatment and research helps many other people.