Everything You Need to About Cord Blood Banking

One of the important decisions you may have to make after the birth of your baby is whether or not you should opt for cord blood banking. It is becoming a common after-birth procedure as a growing number of parents want to have biological insurance to safeguard the future of their child. By extracting and saving the stem cells from the baby’s umbilical cord in a stem cell bank, they can ensure that the child will be able to access them later, if needed, and use them in regenerative medical treatments to treat various medical conditions.

Information about cord blood banking

Here are the answers to the common questions people have about cord blood banking:

What is cord blood?

Cord blood is the blood extracted from the umbilical cord of a newborn baby. This blood is rich in stem cells that are similar to the stem cells obtained from the bone marrow of an adult donor, except these stem cells are younger and, therefore, more effective in regeneration. They are capable of transforming into blood cells, muscle cells, brain cells, and so on, and that makes them crucial in medical therapies for repairing damaged tissues and organs.

What is cord blood banking?

Cord blood banking is the storage of cord blood stem cells for future use by donors, clinical researchers, and medical personnel. It involves freezing the cord blood stem cells using cryogenic freezing methods. With cryogenic freezing, it may be possible to preserve the cord blood stem cells in perpetuity.

What are the types of cord blood banks?

You can choose to store cord blood in a private or public cord blood bank for future use.

In the United States, compliance with FDA regulations is a must in both types of cord blood banking. To maintain their licensure, the banks must also adhere to strict procedures for collecting and screening code blood stem cells as well as for preserving and storing them. The two major differences between them are in what they charge for their services and the future access they allow to the donor.

Generally, public cord blood banks do not charge a fee for their services. However, when you store the cord blood stem cells with them, they will regard them as a donation. They will make this donation freely available to clinical researchers for research purposes and to compatible patients who might need it to avail of regenerative medical treatments. So, if in the future, your child needs cord blood stem cells to treat a health condition, they won’t be able to obtain those very same ones.

With private cord blood banking, on the other hand, you can reserve the cord blood stem cells for the exclusive use of your child or your family. The private bank will not allow anybody else any access to them. However, they will charge you an annual fee for their services and that can be on the expensive end.

What is involved in the collection and storage of cord blood?

Here are some of the steps involved in the collection and storage of cord blood:

• The cord blood is obtained from a newborn’s umbilical cord, which is a non-invasive and painless process.

• Prior to the collection, the medical personnel will screen the mother’s blood to make sure she does not have HIV, Hepatitis, or any other infectious diseases.

•  After collecting the cord blood, the medical personnel will process it to separate the stem cells from it.

•  They will use a cell counting machine to measure the number of nucleated stem cells.

•  They will carry out a CFU assay culture test to determine if the cells are capable of replicating.

•  They will screen the cells for possible bacterial or fungal contamination.

•  They will add a cryoprotectant to the collected stem cells to prevent them from bursting after they undergo the freezing procedure.

•  They will freeze the stem cells at a temperature of -196 degrees C using cryogenic freezing methods for safe and long-term preservation.

•  They will make the cord blood stem cells available exclusively to the donor or to other parties as needed. Public banks will conduct an HLA typing test to match donors with patients who require stem cell transplants.